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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

No immediate retirement plans: Bhaichung Bhutia

India football team captain Bhaichung Bhutia dismissed speculations with regard to his retirement plans in the near future and said that he intends to carry on with the game as long as his body permits.

"I've no plans to retire from the game in the near future... I intend to play as long as my health and physical fitness permits," he said here.

"I will let you people (media) know the day I decide to retire from the game," the 33-year-old national football team captain said.

Asked whether he has set any targets before hanging up his boots, Bhutia, who hails from Sikkim, replied in the negative.

Bhutia, though, once again raised his voice for the development of football at the grassroots level.

"There should be a structured system in place at the grassroots level throughout the country for the promotion of football. This will bring utmost satisfaction to me in the years to come," he said.

Bhutia, who was here to promote the Nike Manchester United Premier Cup for under-15 boys, said he would also seek to give something back to the game which has brought him stardom and said he would like to set up a football academy for budding talents in the north-eastern state.

"I will consider a proposal for setting up a football academy in any of the north-eastern states provided that a 40-acre land is made available by the willing state," he said.

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