BigDaddy News

Football News

“…my last game for the country will be”: Indian football team skipper Sunil Chhetri

Twin motivation: Chhetri says he loves football and playing for the country. File

Twin motivation: Chhetri says he loves football and playing for the country. File
| Photo Credit: K. Murali Kumar

Sunil Chhetri’s retirement, like M.S. Dhoni’s from the IPL, is among the most discussed news stories. But such is the radiance the 38-year-old emits even in the autumn of his sporting life that all talk of his career winding up mostly die a quick death.

On Friday, ahead of the SAFF Championship semifinal against Lebanon, when a scribe asked him if this tournament could be his last national team outing in his beloved city of Bengaluru, Chhetri’s first reaction was: “Wow!”

“I have no idea when my last game for the country will be,” Chhetri went on. “I have never had long-term targets. I think about the next 10 days, the next match and the next training session.

Also Read | Sahal ready to ‘contribute more’ as India takes on Nepal in the SAFF Championship

“There are some parameters…whether I am contributing to the team, whether I am able to sprint with Udanta [Singh], whether I am going for headers with Sandesh [Jhingan]… the day I see that these are not there, I am gone.

“There are just two motivations for me to play — I love football and I love playing for the country. The fame, the money don’t impress me,” he added.

What also drives Chhetri is probably the chance to cap his stellar career with a fine performance at the 2023 AFC Asian Cup.

The SAFF Championship, with West Asian sides Kuwait and Lebanon in it, can help India settle on a core and crystallise a playing philosophy for the marquee tournament.

“We are gelling well,” Chhetri said. “When you play Lebanon and Kuwait, you get an idea of how Syria, Uzbekistan [Asian Cup opponents] are.

“We will be meeting Australia but until then we will be playing the ISL. With due respect to the ISL, we might not face the same tempo and standard Australia will bring.”

“That’s why I am really happy that the likes of Kuwait and Lebanon came. These matches give you a different challenge.”

Leave feedback about this

  • Quality
  • Price
  • Service


Add Field


Add Field
Choose Image
Choose Video

Want To Earn From Skills ?

Bonus On New ID