Surviving I-League is our first target : Bhutia

KolkataL: Unveiling the squad of his team -- United Sikkim FC -- Indian football icon Bhaichung Bhutia today said staying in the I-League 2012-13 would be their first target.

The retired Indian football captain also hoped to play in a few matches but said he has to remain fit as being the owner does not guarantee a place in the XI.
"It`s a new club with a young squad. Budget-wise we are nowhere near to Mohun Bagan or United SC. But we`re very very confident. Our main aim is to remain in the I-League," Bhutia said of his one-and-half-year-old club, the qualifiers for the sixth season.

Besides Bhutia, the 25-member squad has India defender Anwar Ali, former East Bengal forward Budhiram Tudu, along with two foreingers Taeyoon (Korean goalkeeper) and Nigerian veteran medio Salao Nurudeen.

The 36-year-old said he would register himself to play in the upcoming season.
"I have to stay fit in the top tier competition. I cannot just because I`m the owner."
The team is coached by former East Bengal`s Philippe de Ridder and Bhutia said he has given a free hand to the Belgian.

"He has picked the squad. I`ve given him a free hand. He is fully responsible for the team`s result. I`ve full faith in his abilities," Bhutia, standing next to de Ridder, said.
The coach said they were also taking trial of Costa Rican World Cupper Carlos Hernandez, a defensive midfielder and Mun Mun a left back.

Asked about India`s prospects under new coach Wim Koevermans in the Nehru Cup beginning August 23, Bhutia said, "We have a good side. We are hopeful. But you have to give them time."

The United FC also got a title sponsor for the upcoming season.

Goalkeepers: Taeyoon (Korea), Manatosh Ghosh; Defenders: Anwar Ali, Harpreet Singh, Sandesh Jhingyan, Romen Singh, Nim Tshering Lepcha, Sayed Farid, Rahul Jaiswal, Sanjeev Mali, Hardeep Saini; Midfielders: Salao Nurudeen (Nigeria), Rajiv Gorai, Shabir Ali, Raju Debnath, Shahensha Ansari, Nima Tamang, Thupden Bhutia, V Lalthanpuia, Linekar Machando, B Beikokhei, Zenith Genius Mashangva; Forwards: Budhiram Tudu, Nadong Bhutia and Bhaichung Bhutia. Coach: Philippe de Ridder.


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