Former India football captain Baichung Bhutia yesterday slammed government authorities for the country's poor sporting infrastructure and urged parents to give equal importance to sports just as they stress on good education.
Left: Former India football captain Baichung Bhutia training kids during
the opening of the first Baichung Bhutia Soccer School at the Dr Pillai
Global Academy in Gorai, Borivli yesterday. Pic/Nimesh Dave
Speaking on the sidelines of the opening of the first Baichung Bhutia Soccer School at Dr Pillai Global Academy in Gorai yesterday, the Sikkim Sniper said: "Right from my childhood, I don't think there has been any change in sports infrastructure in our country. I don't remember a single football or hockey stadium coming up in India in the last 30 years. There are no proper playgrounds for kids to go and practice. This indirectly kills young talent," said Bhutia.
"I was lucky to have studied in a boarding school, where I had a playground but many schools don't have that. I think parents should not only think of education while admitting their child to a particular institute, but also look at its sports infrastructure," he added.
When asked about the recent death of 25-year-old Bangalore striker Venkatesh D, who suffered a cardiac arrest during a district level football match on Wednesday at the Bangalore Football Stadium, Bhutia said:
"There is a lack of funds and sponsors at local and state level tournaments. That's the reason this happened.
"Organisers try to save money by not providing medical facilities like an ambulance on the field. "Even I find it difficult to get sponsors for my United Sikkim Football Club. Corporates should step forward and try to help state authorities with funds."