'The Day I Don't Feel That I Will...,' India Captain Sunil Chhetri Opens Up On Retirement
Read about Sunil Chhetri's view on his retirement from international football.
India's Men Football Team lifted the SAFF Championship by getting better of Kuwait in the penalty shootout recently which was also the nation's ninth title in the tournament history. Hero of the match, Goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu made the difference for the Blue Colts once again as he saved a crucial penalty kick in the summit clash to help India beat Kuwait 5-4 in the shootout. After five rounds of penalty kicks, the scoreline was 4-4 with both sides missing a penalty each and the sudden death rule was kicked off.
Mahesh Naorem stepped up and scored for the Indian team. Sandhu had a difficult challenge in front of him as Kuwait captain Khaled Hajiah stepped in to bring back parity in the scoreline. Sandhu made a diving save to keep Khaled's shot away from the goal line. As soon as he saved the penalty, he ran and pulled off an animated celebration in front of the home fans.
India captain Sunil Chhetri, who's 38 years of age is getting close to those parameters which mortals cannot outrun - retirement. In his long and astonishing international career, Chhetri has made the headlines on numerous occasions. However, he will have to call it time in the future someday and the Blue Tigers skipper expressed his views on that decision.
"I feel great right now, and I'm inspired to do well for the country. The day I don’t feel that I will quit. But I don’t know when that happens," the captain replied when asked about retirement.
Chhetri, who was named the most valuable player after emerging as the top scorer in the SAFF Championships, also said the team needs to play at least one international friendly against a country ranked in the top-six or seven in the continent ahead of the Asian Cup.
"If we get at least two or three important international friendly games before the Asian Cup, including at least one against a country ranked in top six or seven in Asia, that will give us a good picture of ourselves and will make us more ready."
"If I throw the name, it could be against Iran, Japan or Saudi Arabia. If we don't play against Japan, Iran or South Korea, we will not know the level of Australia (India's strongest opponents in the Asian Cup)."
"To prepare for these big matches against the top teams, we need a camp of four weeks. If we get five days of national camp we will not be ready for these big matches. To face Australia in the Asian Cup, we will need at least a couple of levels higher than what we are having in ISL, and for that we need longer preparation time."