Kolkata, Aug 24: Dronacharya awardee coach Syed Nayeemuddin today led a bunch of former football stars in lashing out against the just-retired Bhaichung Bhutia, accusing him of conspiracy during the AFC Asian Cup qualifiers in 2006.
On a day when Bhutia announced his retirement in New Delhi, Nayeemuddin, who was sacked unceremoniously after India's defeats against Japan and Yemen, blamed Bhutia for the debacle and demanded a CBI inquiry into the matches held five years ago.
Former India defender Subrata Bhattachara and Dhyan Chand awardee Shabbir Ali, too, were critical of the ‘Sikkimese Sniper', saying the media had made him the face of football in India.
Accusing Bhutia of rigging the match against lower-ranked Yemen, Nayeemuddin told PTI: “He conspired with the players and did not allow the goalkeeping coach (Atanu Bhattacharya) to be present in a team meeting. He got it over with six to seven players of the team.”
Terming him a “traitor”, Nayeemuddin said: “He has ditched the country and now he is being projected as a football icon in India. Let there be CBI inquiry and I should be killed if they found me guilty.”
“No player is bigger than country and he is no exception. It was unbelievable.”
Nayeemuddin ranked IM Vijayan ahead of Bhutia.
“On any given day, Vijayan was better. He was disciplined and more talented. Players like him could have played minimum five years more with 100 per cent better performance than Bhutia. He was a team man and techically more sound,” Nayeemuddin said about the Kerala stalwart. PTI