SORRY Sunil Chhetri, we have let down Football and you
Lucknow: A saddening instance came into light when the captain of Indian Football team Sunil Chhetri had to appeal the Indian soccer fanatics for showing some support to the Indian team, just like they cheer for the European Football Clubs (FCs).
His emotional appeal to the people came in the mid of ongoing four-nation Intercontinental Cup in Mumbai where the Indian boys are performing quite well.
Now take a look at Sunil Chhetri's hard-hitting but emotional appeal:
- All those from the country who came to Mumbai to support us a�� amazing. All the fans from Mumbai who came and watched us, thank you so much for the encouragement. It means the world to us.
- I am gonna speak and appeal to all of you who did not come. To everyone who is not a football fan, please come and watch us for two reasons. No. 1 it's the best game in the world and No. 2 we play for our country. We will make sure that once you come to watch us, you will not return the same person back home.
- I mean, it is not fun to criticise or abuse on the internet. Come to the stadium. Do it on our face. Scream at us, shout at us, abuse us. Who knows, one day it might change you guys or you might start a change for us.
- To all of you who are fans of big European clubs and support European clubs with so much passion, thinking that our level is not the same. Agreed, the level is not the same, it is not even close. But with our desire and determination, we will make sure to make your time worth. To all of you who have lost hope, I request you to come and watch us in the stadiums.
Something, however, has just happened to bring a satisfying smile to your face as tickets of Intercontinental Cup match between India and Kenya at the Mumbai Football arena on 4th June has officially sold out.
In apparently was the first instance in the history of any Indian sport when the captain of the national side had to request people to criticize them but watch the team play in stadium.
It is not that they are less of talent:
India, riding on Chhetri's hat-trick, outshone Chinese Taipei 5-0 on June 1 in the opening match of the Intercontinental Cup at the Andheri Sports Complex in Mumbai. According to the reports, just 2,569 fans marked their presence which was really shameful for a country which extensively follows European League and other huge soccer events.
Apart from the match against Chinese Taipei, there are some staats, which put the Indian footballer above the legends of the game like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Argentine footballer Lionel Messi has hit 64 goals in 124 appearances (0.51 goals per game) while Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo has 81 goals to his name in 124 games (0.54 goals per game). Now, have a look at Sunil Chhetri's record. In his 99 appearances, he has hit 59 goals (0.60 goals per game).
What our Football team needs is the support from countrymen and All India Football Federation (AIFF) to fulfil the requirements a Football team.
This appeal has come at a time when the Indian Football is on the rise and the boys who work really hard with their sweat and blood need the support of every soccer lover. Chhetri still hasn't only appealed for support but asked the people to go to the stadium and if they do not like the standards then criticise and boo them on internet and even at the stadium.
It is rather shameful for us that we have all the time in the world for watching Cricket matches even if it is an Afghanistan vs Bangladesh Twenty20 match, but unfortunately we do not consider other sports eligible enough to give our 90 minutes only.
With such attitude of the sports lovers and even the government-run institutions, India's dream of becoming a 'sport playing nation' would only remain a dream always.
One can say that Indian Football needs to do a lot to make its name globally but without the support of its own people, things are never going to be better.
A touched Indian Cricket team skipper took the heartfelt message in cognizance and appealed the fans to gather in large numbers at the Mumbai stadium and support the Indian team.
Soon, Chhetri, team India and Indian Football grabbed the attention of other cricketers like legendary Sachin Tendulkar, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara and many others.
Virat Kohli, on his official Twitter handle, said Indian footballers are very talented and deserve appreciation.
What Virat Kohli said in his video?
- In support of what my good friend and Indian captain Sunil Chhetri posted sometime back, I want to request everyone to go and watch the Indian football team play. Anyone who loves any kind of sport, go and cheer for the team in the stadiums because they are working hard, they are a talented team and I have seen these players evolve and learn over the last few seasons and get so much better at their game.
- This also will go down a long way in contributing towards creating a sporting culture that is the vision for all of us in the country. And we want to be called a proud sporting nation, we need to accept and support all the sports equally.
- Because tomorrow you never know your children might be playing sports as well and they might need support from people coming and watching them play.
- So have compassion and think of how much it can contribute to the players and in turn contribute to the nation because they are representing our country and are very proud of that.
- So I want to urge everyone to go there and see them play and support all of them. Because eventually, we are all striving forward for the nation and we need to make this a collective sporting nation and your contribution will be massive. So please go and support them and watch them play. I wish them all the very best. Thank you.
God of Cricket Sachin Tendulkar also posted a heartfelt 45-second video on his Twitter, requesting fans to come out in numbers to support their athletes.
"C'mon India... Let's fill in the stadiums and support our teams wherever and whenever they are playing. @chetrisunil11 @IndianFootball", Tendulkar captioned on Twitter
What Master Blaster said in his tweet?
- It is really important that all of us stand behind them. Our athletes go through rigorous training sessions to bring laurels to our nation. The dream is to represent the nation and it is India.
- Guys we must stand behind our athletes to support them because getting support from all the well-wishers, it is the best tonic an athlete can have. Let's stand behind our team and support them. Come on team India, this is our time to show our support to all our athletes. And we wish all the athletes very best.
Indian opener Shikhar Dhawan, after retweeting Chhetri's tweet, also requested fans to fill the stadium. He also congratulated the skipper on playing 100 International matches.
"Congrats @chetrisunil11 on reaching the milestone of 100 caps for the country tonight. Requesting all football fans and sports fans in Mumbai to fill the stadium tonight as @IndianFootball takes on Kenya in the Intercontinental Cup. " he said.
And here's the request from Pujara:
Please support the Indian Football team. They've put in a lot of hard work to be where they are, and right now they need your support to boost their spirits! All the best for your 100th international cap tonight.
Indian Tennis star Sania Mirza also wants a ticket.
"Legend ?Yes can I have tickets pls," she tweeted.
Not just cricketers, Bollywood celebrities also extended support to the Indian Football team, appealing Indians to appear in large numbers in the upcoming matches.
Bollywood cheers for IndianA�Football team:
About Sunil Chhetri:
- A professional Footballer who plays as a striker for Indian club Bengaluru FC and the Indian national team.
- He is the most-capped player.
- His professional career began at Mohun Bagan in 2002.
- Chhetri then scored 21 goals in 48 games after moving to JC
- He became the third player from the subcontinent of note to go abroad after signing for the Kansas City Wizards of Major League Soccer in 2010.
- He played a significant role in helping India win the 2007 Nehru Cup, 2009 Nehru Cup, the 2012 Nehru Cup as well as the 2011 SAFF Championship.
- Chhetri was the major charm during the 2008 AFC Challenge Cup where India won the contest and qualified for their first AFC Asian Cup in 27 years.
- Chhetri has also been named AIFF Player of the Year four times in 2007, 2011, 2013 and 2014.
Not only sports persons but Bollywood celebrities have also echoed the appeal of support for Indian footballers.
Seems like, the time has come for India to become a prominent Football playing nation!