For them Tuesday’s match against Bayern Munich is an opportunity to pay a fitting farewell to the Sikkimese Sniper who’s been a teammate, guide and a friend.
“It’s an honour to be playing against Bayern Munich but it is Bhai’s last international match as well and we will give it our best shot to make sure it’s a good one for all his years of dedication to the game here,” centre-back Gouramangi Singh said on Saturday. The game against the German giants will be Bhaichung Bhutia’s last in an India shirt.
“Of course, this is excellent exposure for us and it helps to play against class opponents like we did at the Asian Cup. Personally, I am looking forward to facing Philipp Lahm,” he said.
Midfielder Climax Lawrence, who is eagerly awaiting to squaring off against left-winger Franck Ribery, said: “We were all sad that Bhaichung couldn’t feature at the Asian Cup last January and came on for just a few minutes in the last match against (South) Korea.
It wasn’t the right way for him to finish so we’re all excited to be saying goodbye on such a big stage.”
Asked if the seniors felt a tad shortchanged with big clubs arriving in India this late in the day for them, wide midfielder Clifford Miranda responded with optimism.
“Sure, it would’ve been better to have played international sides when the legs were younger but it’s better late than never, right? Such trips will hopefully bring more youngsters into the game and raise the bar here. For now, it’s all about Bhaichung and not just Bayern although playing with Arjen Robben on the same pitch is unbelievable!”