A Moment to Remember for India Skipper Chhetri

Chhetri had to perform imperative if India were to stand any chance of victory against Afghanistan in SAFF Championship final.

Published: 05th January 2016 03:52 AM  |   Last Updated: 05th January 2016 03:52 AM   |  A+A-

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:  That skipper Sunil Chhetri had to perform was imperative if India were to stand any chance of victory against a more fancied Afghanistan in the SAFF Championship final.

That he did so is a testament to his fierce drive to help haul the national team up from the unfathomable abyss into which it appeared to be in a free fall. At the Greenfield Stadium on Sunday, he was determination personified, ever the willing battler, coming deeper to take command of the ball, not afraid to run at defenders and egging his teammates to keep fighting.

A.jpgThe winning goal against Afghanistan was his 50th international strike in 88 games, which provides for better goals per match statistics than even the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo!

While India regained its stature as the South Asian champions, after having surrendered even that small token of pride in the past edition, Chhetri himself has perhaps grown in stature as a statesman showing the path ahead like a beacon. And speaking about the effort involved after the final, his statesmanship shone through even brighter.

“Afghanistan is not going to play SAFF again. If we had lost today, they would have been SAFF champions for life. I said this to the boys today, ‘no matter what, this cannot happen.’ They will say we beat them in 2015, we are done and we are going to a higher-ranked zone. It was very important for us (to win against the higher-ranked team). And that’s why it gives me a lot of happiness,” Chhetri said, revealing his pep talk.

And then he remembered his principal striker in recent times, Robin Singh who was injured after scoring twice in the opening match.

“We want to dedicate this win to Robin Singh. He was doing well for himself and the team,” he said.


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