Tag: Sunil Chhetri


Chatting with Sunil Chhetri

Indian football team captain Sunil Chhetri during his last match against Kuwait in the FIFA Qualifier at the Salt Lake Stadium at Kolkata. | Photo Credit: R.V. Moorthy A sports press conference is a contested zone. There are, in essence, two interested parties: the journalist who is forever on the lookout for a headline-worthy quote or a slip-of-the-tongue statement, and the athlete who is there as the single access point of the team and with the sole aim of controlling the narrative.Equally, it is a place where relationships are built and mutual respect established. Routine appearances at press meets often convey your journalistic seriousness and rigour, and the player in turn starts looking at you as a constructive critic and not an adversary. Land a few minutes early, there may even...

FIFA World Cup Qualifiers: Lacklustre India start life after Sunil Chhetri with must-win encounter at Asian champs Qatar with progression to Round 3 at stake

What’s life after Sunil Chhetri going to look like? How about a do-or-die World Cup qualifier against reigning Asian champions Qatar in Doha to find out?It’s a tall order for India head coach Igor Stimac and his team – win and the country qualifies for its first-ever World Cup Round 3 appearance. Draw, and the result of the match between Kuwait and Afghanistan dictates their fate. Lose, and crash out of the World Cup qualifiers, with very little as viable excuse as to what went wrong. The three scenarios have come about after some catastrophic, yet predictable, performances by the national team in these World Cup qualifiers. India would have felt disappointed at their AFC Asian Cup group, being lumped with Australia and Uzbekistan – two teams that consistently rank among Asia’s top-eigh...

India send Sunil Chhetri into retirement with dull draw with Kuwait, which puts passage to next round of World Cup qualifiers in great danger

An overcast sky over Salt Lake Stadium reflected the sullen mood in the Indian camp as their talismanic striker Sunil Chhetri laced up his boots for one final time in the World Cup qualifier against Kuwait – a match that ultimately ended in 0-0, with India’s dream of qualifying for the next round getting even harder to realise. As the departing skipper stepped onto the ground for warm-up an hour before the match, the steadily-filling stadium roared its approval. Chhetri, on his part, acknowledged the cheers before joining his teammates for the practice drills. Even though Chhetri had said the day before the match that of more significance was India’s chance to qualify for the third round of the FIFA World Cup qualifiers, something that hadn’t been done in the country’s history, the magn...

Indian football: Sunil Chhetri is on everyone’s lips but on captain’s mind, the crucial match against Kuwait

Everyone is talking about Sunil Chhetri.Lallianzuala Chhangte, the speedy winger, ‘hopes and believes it would be me assisting Chhetri bhai’. Sahal Abdul Samad, the stylish midfielder, vowed to ‘fight for Sunil bhai.’ Defender Subhashish Bose wants the team to win, which would be ‘a farewell gift for Sunil bhai.’ And coach Igor Stimac couldn’t hide his emotions, saying how ‘sad’ he was that his – rather, Indian football’s Man Friday – will retire from international football after the 2026 World Cup and 2027 Asian Cup qualifier against Kuwait here on Thursday. Everyone’s talking about Chhetri. But the 39-year-old wants everyone to talk – and focus – about the match, which is crucial to India’s progression hopes and can make or break the campaign. A smile while entering a packed room for ...