FOOTBALL | We are ready to create history, says skipper Chhetri

Indian football team captain Sunil Chhetri during a training session on the eve of the FIFA qualifier match against Kuwait at the Yuva Bharati Krirangan at Kolkata on Tuesday.
| Photo Credit: R.V. MOORTHY

KOLKATA

Sunil Chhetri, the long-standing captain of the senior men’s national football team, tried to contain his emotions as he was repeatedly asked about his feelings ahead of his final outing for India.

This remained the overriding factor in the media conference as the talismanic striker took questions ahead of India’s match against Kuwait, which will be his last assignment as player with the team. 

“I have been fighting a small battle inside me all along. Please do not make it worse by asking again and again. We were done with the subject of retirement when I announced it 20 days ago,” Chhetri said while addressing a packed media conference room in the Salt Lake Stadium here. 

“The only thing that I want to focus on is the match against Kuwait. We really need to win this game. Once we win it gives us a great chance to go to the third round (of the FIFA World Cup qualifiers), which we have never achieved before

“We need to go out there with all our might, because the match is not going to be easy. It is going to be a big battle, but the good thing is that we are all ready. I am sure Kolkata will give us tremendous support as we fight it out on the ground,” Chhetri, who has scored a record 94 goals in 150 matches for India, added. 

“If we win against Kuwait, we almost qualify to the third round. And once we qualify, we will be up against some top teams (of the continent). I keep telling the boys about this dream every day. Hopefully, everything will happen according to plan. If we qualify, I will be travelling to watch the matches as a fan,” said Chhetri while wrapping up his final assignment with the team he has been associated with for 19 years.



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