He said the Northeast region has a lot of sports talent.
“The football scenario in India is changing a lot and the opportunities are much bigger. We need to make sure the players get the right engagement,” Bhutia told PTI on the sidelines of the Bhaichung Bhutia Football School (BBFS) inauguration. ) here at the Assam Rifles Public School.
He said the aim of establishing the BBFS was to ensure young talent got the right exposure to football at the right age.
Excited about the official exchange of the MoU to operate a professional football school at the Assam Rifles Public School here, Bhutia said the north-eastern region has many sports talents.
“For us, the NE region is where the talent is. It’s important to establish a center here. We’re trying to develop and support a lot of players,” he said.
The aim of the BBFS is to provide support and guidance to many stakeholders with the support of the Government of India through its Khelo India Programme.
Recalling there was no formal education and exposure during his teenage years, Bhutia said he was lucky to be spotted during a match and taken by SAI. He urged authorities to do their best to ensure the right attention is given to the right talent.
As part of the BBFS football programme, seven ARPS boys regularly play in the various categories for India, he said, adding that around 30 students enjoy 100 per cent BBFS scholarships.
At BBFS/APRS, four boys from Meghalaya including one from Tura and two girls from Shillong are part of the BBFS scholarship program.
Bhutia said: “We have to make sure the players get the right exposure. At BBFS we do our best. My own son is enrolled as a boarder at BBFS-Gurgaon. He’s 12. I’m giving him the exposure because he wanted to play football.”
Lt Gen Pradeep Chandran Nair, Director General of Assam Rifles, speaking at the formal exchange of a Memorandum of Understanding between the AR and the BBFS, said: “Northeast India is a true sporting powerhouse and has produced remarkable athletes, including Olympic champions the way forward for the future of Indian football.”
Over 100 footballers from the Northeast region, mainly from Manipur and Mizoram, currently play in India’s top football league and no club is complete without a player from the region, he said.
The Assam Rifles Public School was established in 1980 and is operated by the Assam Rifles Welfare Education Society. In 2021 the school was converted into a sports school to capitalize on the rich sporting potential of the youth of the North East.
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