Indian football team captain Sunil Chhetri has turned 35 years old and it gives a signal that top-scorer doesn’t have many games left in him. Chettri insisted that he will work harder than ever in 2020 after realizing the fact that he is nearing to his retirement.
The Indian captain also wants to work harder in order to guide the team to the 2023 Asian Cup in China. The men in blue are currently on three points from five matches in the World Cup qualifiers and are slated to play Asian champions Qatar — whom they held to a goalless draw in Guwahati, at home on March 26 next.
“I understand that I don’t have many games left to play for my nation. There’s no point in jumping the gun. Hence, personally I want to take one game at a time,” he said.
Chettri is currently second on the list of active international scorers in world football. He is only behind the Portuguese and Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo.
Meanwhile, India’s head coach Igor Stimac said Chettri have the body of a 29-year old and that has inspired the Indian captain to work even harder.
“I need to work harder now. As a team, we need to win as many games as possible. The eventual aim is to qualify for AFC Asian Cup China 2023. We need to be consistently qualifying for the continental championships and there can be no compromise on that aspect. The belief in the squad is unmistakable. There’s no reason why we can’t be in China,” he added.
Chettri also said that he is proud of the fact that there are 5-6 players at his club who are playing for the national side. He wishes to see more players playing for India in the near future.
“I am so proud that at my club we have 5-6 players playing for the country. It would be great if we can add to that number. There’s so much talent among the young lads. It’s important we continue doing what we are doing. Most importantly we can never get stagnant or complacent,” said Chhetri who plies his trade for Indian Super League (ISL) champions Bengaluru FC.”
“At Bengaluru FC we have really done well domestically. We want to continue on the trend domestically, and most definitely want to do well in Asia. There’s an opportunity knocking at our doors this year too, and we need to grab it,” he concluded.
The Indian captain has played 112 matches for India so far and scored 72 goals. In the Indian Super League (ISL) 2019-20, he featured in 10 games and scored 5 goals.