Dream to set up a football academy; Bhaichung Bhutia

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Gangtok, Nov 17 (UNI) Indian football icon Bhaichung Bhutia today expressed his willingness to set up a football academy after he hangs up his boots.

'' I am working on the project for some time as it is my dream to set up a football academy in the country when I retire from professional football ''.

I will be soon approaching state governments for the purpose, he said while addressing the press here at Paljor stadium.

However, he asserted, retirement from professional football is still some years away.

'' Right now, i am happy with my football and will keep going till I enjoy playing it,'' he stated.

The Indian football team captain further said, ''I think the current under-16 age group football team is the best choice to move ahead as its the stage from where we have to build up a strong team''.

We have qualified for the 2011 Asia cup and we will definitely give good performance, he added.

Bhutia, who have been on the forefront for the athletes from the Northeast, also wants to do more for them in the future. There is good potential in the region to tap sports talents.

'' I would like to get involved but I cannot do it alone. I need support from the governments and people, '' he said.

For instance, i want my home club United Sporting Club of Sikkim to be the best club in Northeast but we need support, he said.

He is in Sikkim for a two-day visit to launch the Manchester United premier cup qualifying rounds for the East and Northeast zones hosted by Sikkim Football Association (SFA) here at Paljor stadium.He will kick off the event tomorrow.

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