Bhaichung Bhutia upbeat to lead national football team for last time

New Delhi: Former Indian football captain Bhaichung Bhutia is not fully fit to last full 90 minutes against Bayern Munich in his farewell exhibition match here on Tuesday but is upbeat that he will lead the national team one last time against the top European side.

"I am mentally fit and prepared. But in terms of physical fitness I am not 100 per cent in the sense required to play against a top international side like Bayern Munich. But I will give my best," Bhaichung told reporters after national team practice session here.

"I will start the match for sure and want to play full 90 minutes but let`s see. The injury I had suffered is such that it can occur anytime. I hope I don`t get injured," said Bhutia who appeared to be in full flow during the team training session under the watchful eyes of coach Savio Medeira.

Bhaichung admitted that there was no question of comparing the national team with Bayern Munich but said Tuesday`s match would be an opportunity for the Indian players to find out how much they need to improve.

"You cannot compare the Indian team with Bayern Munich which is as good as the German national side. But it`s an opportunity for the players to know how much they need to work on to take themselves to the level of top international players," he said.

"But we want to do well. For me, it is just enjoying my last match and enjoying the moment. International players normally retire during a tournament or an international match but that did not happen for me due to injury. But I feel honoured to play my farewell match against a top side like Bayern Munich," added Bhaichung, who retired from international football last year.

Bhaichung said he wants to make United Sikkim, the club he owns and plays, to be the model side in the country by making it a successful team.

"I don`t need to be in the All India Football Federation now but will contribute to Indian football by making United Sikkim a successful side in the country in terms of the results and financial viability," he said.

"United Sikkim is important for Sikkim as well as the country. It is important that investors come in the game and that can happen if the clubs are successful and financially rewarding. So I want to make United Sikkim successful. It is a challenge and I want to do it.

"I have another project in Bhaichung Bhutia Football Schools through which I can contribute in grassroot development in the country," said Bhaichung, who has played more than 100 international matches with nearly 50 goals.

India has named 23 players for the exhibition match but coach Savio Medeira said whether all the players will be fielded will be decided at the meeting of managers tomorrow.