Baichung Bhatia is an ace Indian footballer. He is the first Indian to play for English second division soccer club Bury FC. Hailing from a remote village in Sikkim, Bhutia developed interest in the game as a schoolboy.
At the tender age of 13 he was a hero leading his school team to a memorable triumph in Gangtok. At 15, he dropped out of school to make his mark as a footballer. It was during a training camp organised by the State Bank of India that his talent was spotted which changed his destiny.
In 1993, Bhutia gave a fine performance playing for East Bengal in the prestigious Durand Cup. Later he joined J.C.T. Phagwara and helped the team to win the high-profile Philips National Football League. He was the highest scorer in the league with 14 goals.
The following year, he decided to rejoin East Bengal. Bhutia got the opportunity to play for the English soccer club Bury FC. It was a major break- through for Indian football. Baichung Bhatia was presented the coveted Arjuna Award.