A guy from Secunderabad, who went on to become joint second highest goal scorer in international football matches has done so much for the Indian Football and thrives to give more.Sunil Chhetri, the skipper of Indian Football team is as dedicated in service to the country as his father would have wanted him to be. Son of an army man, Chhetri had adulation for the game since childhood. Here we try to look in his life that many youngsters are looking upto as exemplary.
The perfect game-play that Sunil offers can be somewhat be credited to his genes. His father had interest in football while mother and her twin sister played for Nepal women team. His schooling was done from Army Public School and then he shifted to Mamta Modern school. This shifting was just due to his love for football. The Mamta Modern’s Football club was very good and they were hitting finals of tournaments. Sunil says, “Probably that’s why I got a chance to play for City FC, a Delhi Club. They saw me because I played for Mamta Modern and then I played for them one year and then Mohun Bagan saw me. So you see the whole chain!”
Growth of ‘Captain Fantastic’
Earning a football club at just the age of 17, Chhetri had shown his class quite early. An ardent fan of Baichung Bhutia, he received admiration from his idol for his game very early. Chhetri reminisces, “he shook hands with me and said I have heard things about you and you are doing good kid.” These words of appreciation by the Indian star to a future Indian star is surely a historic meeting if we look at it now.
In his football journey, he was selected for the Queens Park Rangers but the policy required the Nation to be in top 70 of FIFA rankings. India at that moment ranked somewhere around 130 so he could not get the chance. Sunil says, “I knew it wasn’t in my hands, whatever I could, I gave my best and still if it didn’t happen it was not in my hands. I was sad for 3-4 days but then I brushed it off”
When asked about the growth of Indian football, he seems very optimistic. It is a good phase of football in India but the pace of improvement is very less as compared to other Asian teams if we leave world aside. He says, “We are making progress but the progress is so small as compared to other nations”
So for now, keeping our head down and working hard, all it is required is to reach in the top 10 of Asian countries and then make other plans. Whatever progress we make, it would seem small until it gets to measurable amount. Further, the focus with regards to FIFA rankings is to be in top 70. The competition is tough in the top 100. “We have come in 100 now and to go even one ranking up, it is going to be really difficult but I just hope that we can”
With no serious training in football, Sunil went on to become the skipper of his national side. This fact in itself is a motivating one. current joint highest goal scorer in international football matches, his recent heroics has earned him many followers. Hero Intercontinental Cup 2018, gave a new dimension to football in India. A heartfelt appeal to fans, urging them to ‘support’, ‘abuse’ but all that in stadium brought the nation together.
The national hero, who gathered whole nation and further provided the results keeping up to the expectations, is a legend in action. This Indian lad promises not to disappoint the fans every time, and this commitment probably sets him apart from others.