Bhaichung's United Sikkim to boost northeast football

Bhutia, who is training with the national team in Dubai for next month's Asian Cup, has applied for permission from the All India Football Federation (AIFF) to allow the newly-formed Gangtok-based club in the second division of I-League. 

"United Sikkim will surely boost football in northeast. Things are still premature as we have just applied for permission from the AIFF. But we will look to run the club in a professional manner, with the help of some corporates," Bhutia told IANS from Dubai.

Bhutia is confident that with proper guidance United Sikkim can become one of the top clubs in the country in the coming years.

"There is lot of talent in northeast and we have to give them proper direction. I hope United Sikkim can serve the purpose. We will have an excellent youth academy in association with former Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz. In next 4-5 years we will be among the best in the country," he said.

The club is also being backed by the Sikkim Government and Bhutia has applied for 30-acres of land from the state government.

"We have full support from the state government and we will built a world class stadium and an academy," he said.

Bhutia has already signed 20 players and the AIFF has asked the club to submit some more relevant documents as the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has set December 31 as the deadline for all the clubs to fulfil the criteria for participating in both the divisions of the I-League.

On his calf muscle injury in his right leg, Bhutia hoped that he would get fit in time before India's first match in the Asian Cup slated for January 10 against Australia.

"I am giving my best to get fit. Things are still in bad shape and I am also planning to fly in my personal doctor from Chennai. This is a big tournament for India and I want to give my best," he said.

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