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Chhetri vows post-retirement support for Indian football

Speaking at an event attended by President Droupadi Murmu, who kicked off the Durand Cup football tournament trophy tour, Chhetri expressed unwavering optimism about India's potential in global football.

News Arena Network - New Delhi - UPDATED: July 10, 2024, 03:42 AM - 3 mins read

Indian football icon Sunil Chhetri. File photo.

Chhetri vows post-retirement support for Indian football

Indian football icon Sunil Chhetri. File photo.


Indian football icon Sunil Chhetri, though retired from international play, remains deeply committed to India's footballing future, pledging to contribute tirelessly to lead the nation to greater heights.

 

Speaking at an event attended by President Droupadi Murmu, who kicked off the Durand Cup football tournament trophy tour, Chhetri expressed unwavering optimism about India's potential in global football.

 

"In my career, I've seen highs and lows, but one thing remains constant: we will achieve the dreams we all cherish," remarked Chhetri, who retired last month after setting numerous national records.

 

While Chhetri continues with Bengaluru FC in the Indian Super League until next year, he affirmed his dedication to advancing Indian football, highliting, "I may be retired, but I will spare no effort to guide India to its promised land."

 

Reflecting on India's recent football challenges, particularly the dismissal of coach Igor Stimac following World Cup qualification setbacks, Chhetri stressed the need for strategic advancement in Indian football.

 

During his illustrious 19-year career, India achieved prominence in Asian football but fell short of breaking into the top 10.

 

Currently ranked 124th globally and 22nd in Asia, Chhetri acknowledged the steep path ahead but remained hopeful about India's progress.

 

Addressing the upcoming Durand Cup set to commence in Kolkata on July 27, Chhetri nostalgically recalled his breakthrough in the tournament back in 2002 with Delhi club City FC.

 

"This tournament holds a special place for me. It was here that I was noticed, marking the beginning of my national football journey," Chhetri reminisced, highlighting the historical significance of the century-old event in Indian football lore.

 

Chhetri, who led Bengaluru FC to Durand Cup victory in 2022, hailed the tournament as a cradle for budding talents across India.

 

"The Durand Cup has been instrumental in shaping the careers of many talented players," he said, citing its role in fostering football excellence.

 

Named among the promising talents during the 2002 Durand Cup, Chhetri's standout performances drew the attention of Mohun Bagan, catapulting him into Kolkata's football scene for trials.

 

Looking forward, Chhetri urged a focus on India's footballing infrastructure and youth development to propel the nation closer to its aspirations.

 

He advocated a step-by-step approach, suggesting India first aims for a top-20 spot in Asia before setting sights higher.

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