Footy Times

Please get involved, this is an important time and juncture in Indian football and football in India needs you guys; Sunil Chhetri’s impassioned appeal to indians

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Mumbai: Indian national football team captain Sunil Chhetri on Saturday took to Twitter with a powerful appeal — to support the Indian team by watching their games in the stadium.

Chhetri, 33, who led Indian attack with a superb hat-trick in the thrashing of Chinese Taipei in the ongoing Intercontinental cup urged his fellow countrymen to go to the stadium to watch the Blue Tigers play whenever possible.

“I request you all to please come… talk about the game, go back home, have discussions, make banners. Please get involved, this is an important time and juncture in Indian football and football in India needs you guys,” he said.

Despite getting surge in support in recent years after the introduction of Indian Super League Indian football stand embarrassingly far from cricket in terms of popularity.

India’s all-time highest goal-getter scored his third international hat-trick in front of a near empty stadium in Mumbai’s Andheri sports complex.

Saturday’s match in Mumbai was played in front of a little over 2,500 fans, most of them a part of an organised group of supporters named ‘Blue Pilgrims’.

For a country that host millions of football fans, Hala Madrid, Forca Barca brigades care little about their national team playing because of the difference in the quality of the performance. Chhetri talked about this also in his 2 minutes 20 second video.

“To all of you who are fans of big European clubs and support European clubs with so much passion and sometimes you guys think that the level is not the same, so why do you waste your time? Agreed, the level is not the same, not even close but with our desire and determination, we will try our best to make your time worth,” he said.

“To all of you, who have lost hope or don’t have any hope in Indian football, we request you to come and watch us in the stadium,” Chhetri said.

Taking a jibe at the internet warriors and armchair critics, he added, “I mean it’s not fun to criticise and abuse on internet. Come to the stadium, do it on our face, scream at us, shout at us, abuse us, who knows one day we might change you guys, you might start cheering for us. You guys have no idea how important you guys are and how important your support is,” he said in an emotional video.

Since the video went viral several sports icon including former Indian captain Baichung Bhutia, cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar and Indian cricket team Captain Virat Kohli endorsed Chhetri’s words and declared solidarity to the Indian football team.

He wrote, “C’mon India… Let’s fill in the stadiums and support our teams wherever and whenever they are playing” and tagged Indian football and their captain Chhetri in his tweet.

“I feel it is important to support and encourage our athletes, be it football, hockey, badminton, tennis, wrestling, cricket. It is really important that we stand behind them. Our athletes go through rigours training sessions to bring laurels to our nation. The dream is to represent the nation and it is India,” he said.

Chhetri has called on every fans to attend India’s upcoming matches on 4th, 7th and hopefully 10th of this month in Mumbai.

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