Bhutia upbeat ahead of swansong

Baichung Bhutia admits he is not fully fit to play 90 minutes but is mentally geared up to lead the national football team for the last time during his farewell match against Bayern Munich at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Tuesday.

Baichung Bhutia

Bhutia, who retired last year after having led the country for nearly a decade, said it was a great honour of having a farewell match -- and that too against Bayern. A part of the proceeds will be donated to the earthquake victims of Bhutia's home state of Sikkim. "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," Bhutia said after a practice session at the Ambedkar Stadium. "I will start the match for sure and want to play the 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." he said. 

"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."

Asked about the importance of the match in the context of Indian football, Bhutia said: "You cannot compare the Indian team with Bayern, 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."

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