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Posted on Dec 05, 09:53PM | UNI
football skipper Baichung Bhutia feels the ban on Indian Olympic Associations (IOA) by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has brought disgrace to the country but also termed it as a "wake-up call".
"It's a very disappointing situation where we have come in. I think it's quite disgraceful in terms of situation that we have come into. The decision has come as a wake up call," Bhutia told reporters on the sidelines of a launch programme here today.
Bhutia, however, threw his weight behind the controversial Sports Code and said the ban could act as a catalyst of change to make Indian sports better.
"But somewhere I feel that its important that such a thing has happened. May be, this will going to change the India sports for better.
"Despite all this, I don't want the sports code not to be followed. I still feel that the sports code needs to be there. I think the IOA should get the sports code amended to their constitution. I don't think that the IOC is going to reject that," he added.
The Sikkimese legend also made it clear he is not eyeing any administrative post in the All India Football Federation (AIFF) and instead busy with his own club - United Sikkim FC.
"I am not eyeing any post in the AIFF at the moment. I am just concentrating on my club. I want my club to be one of the best clubs in India but you need a lot of support to make that happen," he said.
Bhutia also urged sponsors form other states to support the club.
"My biggest challenege at the moment is corporate sponsorship, that's a biggest challenge for me. Sikkim is a very small state and we don't have big corporate houses there," he said.
Responding to a query on how his team has recovered after the 10-0 drubbing against Prayag United in the ongoing I-League, Bhutia said it was tough to digest.
"It's been quite difficult but I think we have come over it.
Last three away matches, we drawn but I still feel that we should have won those matches. I think perhaps it's been very unfortunate that the 50-50 decisions did not go in our favour," he said.
"Somewhere I felt that we did not get any single decision in our favour. Every 50-50 decision went in their favour. So, somewhere down the line, luck has not been with us. It has really done a lot of damage to our chances and where we are placed at the moment," he added.
The ace footballer also stated that the future of I-league needs renovation in terms of marketing to woo the audience.
"The future of I-league needs to be reworked. I League has to be there but in terms of marketing, packaging, concepts and ideas that will have to change. We have a lot of corporate teams which is not a necessity in India, we need to have teams based out of city. We need people who are willing to invest in the football," he said.
The legendary footballer also raised his voice on improving the standards of the game at the grassroots level.
"We need to do much more. We still need to work on a good development system. We need to have good competitions for the team. We still need to work on infrastructure," he said.
"The biggest thing is that the interest level has gone up at the junior level. The efforts are there and things have started picking up and things have started falling in place," he added.
Asked if he was ready to take up full-time coaching, Bhutia said he was not yet ready for the job.
"I am not ready yet. On the 8th it's going to be my last match. We already have a coach from Australia. He is reaching on the 7th. This will be my last game," he said.