MUMBAI: India football captain Sunil Chhetri today admitted that he never thought his emotional video on social media seeking support for the national team would create so much impact and has thanked star cricketer Virat Kohli for his backing.
Chhetri, who is set to play his 100th match in national jersey against Kenya in the Intercontinental Cup in Mumbai tomorrow, has requested the Indian sports fans through a video uploaded on his Twitter handle to come and watch the team play.
His plea got the backing of India cricket captain Kohli, who said people of the country should accept and support all sports equally so that India becomes a sporting nation.
"It (the video) wasn't for the special occasion. My phone is hanged. I never knew it is going to have that kind of impact. I thank everyone who has joined in. It is a simple message," Chhetri said.
"We played the game and was great to go and celebrate with the Blue Pilgrims and a few Mumbai fans but then I was talking to Sandesh (Jhinghan) about how Kerala has done well, Chennai does well, BFC is going well. The topmost is Kerala Blasters, where a player can't hear each other and the atmosphere takes everything from you."
This is nothing but a small plea from me to you. Take out a little time and give me a listen. pic.twitter.com/fcOA3qPH8i— Sunil Chhetri (@chetrisunil11) 2 June 2018
India played their opener of the Intercontinental Cup here against Chinese Taipei in a relatively empty stadium and Chhetri urged the football fans to throng the ground and support them in their remaining matches of the tournament.
"You want to live the 90 minutes, this is what we want to feel. This is something we couldn't feel here. Not request to watch Sunil Chhetri, but we are wearing the Blue and it will be great (if people support us)," he said.
"That's why I just went on Twitter. I never thought it's going to follow hits. I got some 1000 messages on Whatsapp. I hope everyone takes in right way because it was from my heart, there was no hidden agenda. I thank everyone who joined in, it really helps, Virat (Kohli) and all joined it, it was a sweet gesture," Chhetri added.
Further commenting on the video, he said it was a one-take one and was unplanned. "I didn't think twice (before shooting the video). It wasn't planned. It is something that I felt that I am going to make it, I did not talk to my team, just posted it. So whatever reaction I am getting, most of them are positive. If you are saying, somebody thinks that I was pleading, I don't feel ashamed," he said.
Asked about the schedule of India's games in the tournament which are mostly on week days, Chhetri said he would raise the issue with the authorities concerned.
"Very valid point. I hope next time we can do a little bit better. 8 PM time is great as it helps. If it is Saturday or Sunday it helps more. Whenever I talk to them, I will put it forward," he signed off.