Develop a sixth sense, Bhaichung tells Indian strikers

Bhaichung Bhutia was one of India’s most lethal strikers and was fondly nicknamed the Sikkimese sniper for his goalscoring abilities. The Indian football legend who became the first player to register a century of appearances for the Blue Tigers had a word of advice for all budding strikers on how to follow in his and Sunil Chhetri’s footsteps.

“All strikers need to develop their sixth sense if they are to score regularly. You need to smell it as to where it would be coming. The best strikers in the world all have that sense. You need to read situations. Unless you don't develop your sixth sense, you won't be a successful striker,” Bhaichung shared during a live chat with the All India Football Federation (AIFF) TV.

Bhaichung was witness to the development of India’s all-time leading goalscorer, Sunil Chhetri. The pair played together at Mohun Bagan FC as well as the national team and the two-time AIFF Player of the Year revealed what he would tell the current Bengaluru FC and Indian football team captain.

Read: Bhaichung Bhutia: Very important for strikers to remain consistent

“I used to keep telling Sunil (Chhetri) that you need to anticipate and make runs from where you can score. If you go wide, you must dribble and get past the defender, and by the time you turn and get past him, others will also rush in to block you. Only once or twice out of maybe 10 situations you will get the chance to score. But you need to keep on doing it,” he elucidated.

On India’s grassroots level programmes

Bhaichung also spoke about the importance of grassroots development to produce world class talent.

"We need to produce good quality players. That's very important, when I say that I don't mean we don't have good players now. But in order to compete in Asia and at the world level we need to produce bigger better players from the grassroots.”

The 43-year-old also praised the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) for their infrastructure and bemoaned a lack of the same during his younger days in Indian football.

"The kind of support, platform competitions they are playing, the coaching staff the players are getting right now is much better than what we got. The number of matches the national team plays is three-four times more than we played in our initial stages," the former India skipper said while concluding.

"At the same time with the Hero ISL coming in the infrastructure the training ground, the quality of the grounds is also become of a much higher standard now.”

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