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Sunil Chhetri: Qatar game is the benchmark for Indian football

Sunil Chhetri in action against Afghanistan.
Sunil Chhetri in action against Afghanistan.
Mohak Arora
Modified 16 Sep 2020, 16:51 IST

As many were celebrating the one-year anniversary of the 0-0 draw with Asian champions Qatar, Sunil Chhetri was working hard on his body and making sure that he is 100% fit for the 2020-21 season of the Indian Super League.

The 36-year old is of the opinion that the scoreless draw was the epitome of the performance and planning from the players involved and the coaches working hard behind the scenes.

While talking to Hindustan Times on their podcast 'A View From The Stands', Sunil Chhetri gave his opinion about the match that he sat out of due to a minor injury.

Sunil Chhetri said, "I don't think there is anyone in the country more sad and depressed that we have 3 points from the first 5 qualifiers. These are probably going to be my last qualifiers, and my last shot at playing at the World Cup."

Sunil Chettri continued, "When I saw my team play the Qatar game, that gave me so much hope of what is possible if we have the right poise, the right coaching, the right mentality. It's what we are truly capable of, it's not a fluke when you go to Qatar and play one of the best teams in Asia and put on such a performance."

Strikers are to blame for performances against Bangladesh and Afghanistan: Sunil Chhetri

"From there, the way we played Bangladesh at home and Afghanistan away was such a low, the ones to be blamed are the players and especially the strikers. There is no going around it, I still remember there was a corner against Aghanistan and I missed from point blank range, you can't change these things," said Sunil Chhetri.

He quipped, "If we got six points from those two matches, things would look so different. It's so sad that the whole team is going to be balmed from the AIFF, the management, the coaches and they aren't doing anything wrong. Even the physios and the doctors are working so hard. If we, the strikers, go out and do what we did against those two teams, we have to just raise our hands and say we're sorry."

"Every game that I play for my country from here, we try and achieve what we did against Qatar, not result-wise but performance-wise because that is what we are capable of. Every match we should aim to give all we have as we did against Qatar. That game should be our benchmark, win or lose. Good days for Indian football are not far," Sunil Chettri concluded.
Published 16 Sep 2020, 16:51 IST
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