Kolkata, April 4 (IANS) Former India captain Bhaichung Bhutia has been reinstated as advisor to the All India Football Federation (AIFF) for a one year term.
Bhutia's contract as advisor was not renewed after December. In March he was also removed from the technical committee of the AIFF and was replaced by former India legend Shyam Thapa.
"Yes I have agreed to a one year contract extension as the advisor to the AIFF," Bhutia confirmed to IANS on Tuesday when asked about it.
"When I took charge as advisor for the first time, India were ranked in the region of 160. When I left in December, they were around 130. Now the aim will be to take things forward.
"We will also be focusing more on grassroots programme. During my first stint, I had put a lot of emphasis on grassroots as that is the way forward. Also state licensing is an aspect I want to train my eyes on this time," the iconic Sikkimese footballer added.
Asked about the U-17 World Cup India is going to host for the first time later this year, Bhutia said the team has been given the best possible exposure and the AIFF has left no stone unturned in their preparations for the youth showpiece.
"We have given them ample exposure trips to all parts of the world. I don't think even countries like England and other European countries do so much in terms of preparing the boys. They have been looked after well and I hope we do well in the World Cup," the former Mohun Bagan and East Bengal star asserted.
Bhutia said Kolkata is the perfect stage to host the final on October 28 and that the football crazy state will get to witness future "Lionel Messis" and "Cristiano Ronaldos" before their eyes.
"The football on show will be superb. The quality of the teams and the level at which they will play will be something the country has never witnessed before live.
"Kolkata has always been very passionate about football and it is the perfect stage for the final of India's first World Cup," Bhutia added.