News Arena

Join us

Home
/

sunil-chhetri-from-backbencher-to-captain-footballing-icon-bids-farewell

Sports

Sunil Chhetri, the man who made cricket-crazy India look at football

Chhetri's glittering career, spanning two decades, will come to a fitting end at the Mecca of Indian football, Kolkata's Salt Lake Stadium.

News Arena Network - New Delhi - UPDATED: May 16, 2024, 02:10 AM - 4 mins read

The long-serving national team captain announced his decision via a video he posted on his social media accounts.

Sunil Chhetri, the man who made cricket-crazy India look at football

The long-serving national team captain announced his decision via a video he posted on his social media accounts.


Sunil Chhetri, the unassuming talisman of Indian football, has announced his retirement from international duty after the World Cup qualifier against Kuwait next month. 

 

Chhetri's glittering career, spanning two decades, will come to a fitting end at the Mecca of Indian football, Kolkata's Salt Lake Stadium.

 

Chhetri's journey began not with a burning passion for the sport, but as a means to an end - a coveted spot in a reputed college. Football, however, ran deep in his veins. 

 

His father, Kharga Chhetri, a former Indian Army footballer, nurtured a dream of seeing his son achieve what he couldn't.

 

Sunil's early forays into the sport began with Delhi's City Club (2001-02), followed by a momentous signing by Mohun Bagan, one of India's footballing giants, in 2002. 

 

 His exploits there (eight goals in 18 appearances) paved the way for his inclusion in the Indian U-20 side and subsequently, the senior national team.

 

His international debut in 2005, at the tender age of 20, was a cause for both pride and anxiety for his father. 

 

While Sunil revelled in his achievements, Kharga Chhetri's concerns lay in the security arrangements for the Indian team in strife-torn Balochistan, Pakistan, where the match was held.

 

Despite his initial reservations, Kharga's belief in his son never wavered. Sunil's natural talent shone through, as he excelled at every school he attended. Born in Secunderabad with footballing pedigree (his mother, Sushila, played for the Nepal national team), Sunil seemed destined for greatness.

 

Even after establishing himself in the national team, the prankster in Sunil remained.  However, things took a turn in 2011 when he was handed the captain's armband by coach Bob Houghton following Bhaichung Bhutia's retirement.  

 

The weight of leadership transformed Sunil. His role transcended mere goalscoring; he shouldered the burden of the team's performance.

 

Throughout his captaincy, Sunil thrived under immense pressure, often deprived of adequate support from his teammates in major tournaments. 

 

While he enjoyed the guidance of Bhaichung Bhutia in his early years, the void left by the 'Sikkimese Sniper's' departure was significant. The following years saw the emergence of talented players, but none quite matched the brilliance of Chhetri or Bhutia.

 

Sunil's fortunes became synonymous with the national team's. He acknowledged the pressure that came with the armband, "It's not only you, it's the team now," he had said in an interview.

 

Despite the challenges, Sunil persevered. He navigated the stormy waters of Indian football administration, riddled with apathy, corruption, and sexual harassment allegations.  

 

To extend his international career in the absence of an able successor, Sunil had turned vegan on the advice of his good friend, Virat Kohli, whose sport enjoys unprecedented popularity in this part of the world.

 

Through it all, he remained steadfast on the field, donning the blue jersey and the captain's armband with unwavering dedication.

 

In a cricket-obsessed nation, Sunil, with his goal-scoring prowess, managed to shift the spotlight towards football, albeit temporarily.  

 

Sunil Chhetri's retirement marks the end of an era. He leaves behind a legacy of exceptional talent, leadership, and unwavering commitment.  

 

His journey, from a playful backbencher to a revered captain, is an inspiration for aspiring footballers across the country.

Related News
PV Sindhu ends runner-up at Malaysia Masters

PV Sindhu ends runner-up at Malaysia Masters

May 26, 2024, 04:19 AM - 6 mins read

PV Sindhu is in the finals of Malaysia Masters title

PV Sindhu— A step away from Malaysia Masters title

May 25, 2024, 03:03 AM - 4 mins read

MS Dhoni casts ballot in Ranchi

Cricket legend MS Dhoni casts ballot in Ranchi

May 25, 2024, 03:59 AM - 3 mins read

Last year, Bharali secured a bronze medal in the 67kg category.

Assam teen lifts gold at World Youth Championships

May 25, 2024, 01:59 AM - 1 min read

Indian junior women's hockey team beats Belgium

May 24, 2024, 11:15 PM - 2 mins read

This Sunday, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) clash in the final at Chennai's MA Chidambaram Stadium. Match begins at 7.30 pm tomorrow.

IPL 2024 final: KKR vs SRH - four must-know facts

May 24, 2024, 11:14 PM - 3 mins read

Pat Cummins bowling during an IPL match.

Cummins ‘Really grateful’ as SRH reach IPL final

May 24, 2024, 08:59 PM - 4 mins read

Indian archer Jyothi Surekha. Image via World Archery on X.

World Cup gold for Indian women's archery team

May 24, 2024, 08:47 PM - 4 mins read

Mohammad Kaif.

No reason Dhoni should stop playing, says Kaif

May 24, 2024, 05:14 AM - 4 mins read

The Harmanpreet Singh-led side had defeated Argentina 5-4 in a shootout after both the teams were locked at 2-2 at the end of regulation time in the opening match here on Wednesday.

India lose 1-4 to Belgium in FIH Pro League

May 24, 2024, 07:18 AM - 3 mins read

VVS Laxman during a practice session.

Can BCCI retain Laxman as NCA ‘head of cricket’?

May 24, 2024, 05:56 AM - 4 mins read

BCCI General Secretary Jay Shah.

No Aussies approached for coaching India : Shah

May 24, 2024, 03:32 AM - 2 mins read

https://www.instagram.com/thelaughclubofficial/
https://www.instagram.com/burraahhh_/

Sports

See All
PV Sindhu ends runner-up at Malaysia Masters

PV Sindhu ends runner-up at Malaysia Masters

May 26, 2024, 04:19 AM - 6 mins read

Sindhu held a massive 11-3 lead in the decider but after the final change of ends to go down 21-16 5-21 16-21 in a 79-minute women's singles final.

Read more
PV Sindhu is in the finals of Malaysia Masters title

PV Sindhu— A step away from Malaysia Masters title

May 25, 2024, 03:03 AM - 4 mins read

Fifth seed Sindhu, who has not won a title in two years, rallied her way to against world number 20 Busanan in a 88 min-long semifinal to close in on the BWF World Tour Super 500 crown at the Axiata Arena.

Read more
MS Dhoni casts ballot in Ranchi

Cricket legend MS Dhoni casts ballot in Ranchi

May 25, 2024, 02:25 AM - 3 mins read

Dhoni was recently involved in Chennai Super Kings’ IPL 2024 campaign where the franchise exited in group stage after failing to qualify for the playoffs.

Read more
Last year, Bharali secured a bronze medal in the 67kg category.

Assam teen lifts gold at World Youth Championships

May 25, 2024, 01:59 AM - 1 min read

The 17-year-old triumphed with a total lift of 296kg, comprising 136kg in the snatch and 160kg in the clean and jerk, finishing 12kg ahead of his nearest competitor.

Read more

Indian junior women's hockey team beats Belgium

May 24, 2024, 11:15 PM - 2 mins read

Maintaining their momentum, India saw through a goalless second quarter to restrict the Belgian unit and find themselves in a commanding position at halftime.

Read more
This Sunday, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) clash in the final at Chennai's MA Chidambaram Stadium. Match begins at 7.30 pm tomorrow.

IPL 2024 final: KKR vs SRH - four must-know facts

May 24, 2024, 11:14 PM - 3 mins read

KKR topped league stage, defeated SRH in Qualifier 1. SRH clinched final spot with 36-run win against Rajasthan Royals.

Read more
Pat Cummins bowling during an IPL match.

Cummins ‘Really grateful’ as SRH reach IPL final

May 24, 2024, 08:59 PM - 4 mins read

SRH had finished at the last spot in 2023 but Cummins, who was roped in for a whopping Rs 20.50 crore, scripted a sensational turnaround for the franchise, taking the team to the final with a 36-run win over Rajasthan Royals in Qualifier 2 on Friday.

Read more
Indian archer Jyothi Surekha. Image via World Archery on X.

World Cup gold for Indian women's archery team

May 24, 2024, 08:47 PM - 4 mins read

The world number one Indian compound women's team dominated Turkey's Hazal Burun, Ayse Bera Suzer and Begum Yuva right from the first end and sealed the gold without dropping a set, maintaining a healthy six-point margin (232-226) in a lopsided final.

Read more
Mohammad Kaif.

No reason Dhoni should stop playing, says Kaif

May 24, 2024, 05:14 AM - 4 mins read

"I don't think he's done, he could not win the game (last league match against RCB). In the last over after hitting a six, he got out. You could make out seeing the body language that he seemed very disappointed not winning the game for CSK," Kaif, a cricket expert with Star Sports, stated. 

Read more
The Harmanpreet Singh-led side had defeated Argentina 5-4 in a shootout after both the teams were locked at 2-2 at the end of regulation time in the opening match here on Wednesday.

India lose 1-4 to Belgium in FIH Pro League

May 24, 2024, 04:54 AM - 3 mins read

The Harmanpreet Singh-led side had defeated Argentina 5-4 in a shootout after both the teams were locked at 2-2 at the end of regulation time in the opening match here on Wednesday.

Read more
VVS Laxman during a practice session.

Can BCCI retain Laxman as NCA ‘head of cricket’?

May 24, 2024, 04:32 AM - 4 mins read

Shah, in a statement on Friday to deny reaching out to any Australian candidates, also dropped hints that the Board is looking for an Indian coach, who has come through the ranks and knows the cricketing ecosystem inside out.

Read more
BCCI General Secretary Jay Shah.

No Aussies approached for coaching India : Shah

May 24, 2024, 03:32 AM - 2 mins read

While Dravid has reportedly told the board that he is not interested in a third stint, former Australian players like Ricky Ponting and Justin Langer have claimed that they have turned down approaches for the high-profile position.

Read more

TOP CATEGORIES

  • Nation

QUICK LINKS

About us Rss FeedSitemapPrivacy PolicyTerms & Condition
logo

2024 News Arena India Pvt Ltd | All rights reserved | The Ideaz Factory