Nayeemuddin still sore with BhutiaAugust 24th, 2011 - 10:15 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Aug 24 (IANS) Former India captain Bhaichung Bhutia’s farewell from international football was soured Wednesday with Dronacharya awardee coach Syed Nayeemuddin alleging that the star player didn’t pull his weight during the national team’s losses in the AFC Asian Cup qualifiers in 2006 when he was the coach.
Bhutia, however, refused to comment on the issue and maintained the dignified silence that he has maintained since falling out with Nayeemuddin.
Bhutia and Nayeemuddin, also a former captain, always had a troubled relationship and it became ugly when the latter was the coach of the national team in 2005-06 and they made no secret of it.
India suffered heavy losses against Japan and lowly-ranked Yemen in the Asian Cup qualifiers and that led to the sacking of Nayeemuddin.
Nayeemuddin believes that machinations by Bhutia and some players led to his sacking. Nayeemuddin said Bhutia ditched his country and called for a CBI inquiry into the matches.
“I don’t want to comment on him. He has ditched the country. Let there be a CBI inquiry and I should be killed if they found me guilty. No player can be bigger than the country. It was unbelievable that he is being projected bigger than the country.”
Nayeemuddin said I.M. Vijayan is the best he has ever seen.
“Vijayan is the best I have ever seen. He was disciplined and more talented. He was a team man and technically more sound,” said Nayeemuddin.
India’s huge losses under Nayeemuddin almost prompted Bhaichung to take retirement but he changed his mind after being persuaded by then All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi.
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Tags: afc asian cup, aiff, asian cup, asian cup qualifiers, bhaichung bhutia, cbi inquiry, farewell, football federation, heavy losses, India, international football, machinations, New Delhi, priya ranjan, retirement, silence, star player, team man, troubled relationship, yemen