The Indian national team have qualified for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup after four back-to-back wins, one of which was against Myanmar courtesy of a 90th minute Sunil Chhetri strike.
On the eve of the return tie which will be played in Goa, Myanmar coach Gerd Zeise has admitted his admiration for the Indian captain and also offered him a Myanmar passport.
"The captain (Chhetri) is an outstanding player. He is calm, his finishing is good. He's the main threat and I would like to give him a Myanmar passport. We must take care of his conduct. Whenever he is involved, it is dangerous," said the German.
Chhetri's response was modest, as he implied that his teammates are the ones to receive the Myanmar passport after making the difference against Tuesday's opponents in Myanmar in the last match between the two sides.
"I think the goal did make a difference, but let's not take away the fact that we defended so well in that game. Most of the game, we were defending. If the passport is given to me, it has to be given to Sandesh (Jhingan), Jeje (Lakpekhlua) and Udanta (Singh) also, because they were the protagonists. Great ball by Jeje, a flash run by Udanta and gave a good ball," the Bengaluru FC striker asserted.
"I think the main thing about that game was about the way we defended as a whole team. That is why we got those points. The goal was just one of those things but the defence did the main thing," he added.
Sunil Chhetri, however, acknowledged Myanmar as a difficult opponent against whom he would any day take three points against.
"They (Myanmar) had the ball. The game was very difficult but I would take three points any day. I would take the other team having the ball and us getting three points. That's what we did and we qualified now. I'm not trying to say anything to the opposing team but it was a difficult game.
"We played two games there against Myanmar. We lost 1-0 before and won 1-0. It's always close. They are a difficult team to play, especially at their home, and even they play well tomorrow and we get three points, I would happily take it."
Echoing Chhetri's views, India coach Stephen Constantine continued, "If you look at the team shape in that game, the work rate was phenomenal. The goal was scored in the 90th minute. The old man (Chhetri) was running at 31 km. per hour and the kid (Udanta Singh) was running at 33 km. per hour and that's in the 90th minute.
"We are a hard-working team, we have some great players and we have individual moments. That was a four or five man move with obviously Sunil being absolutely clinical. If that was in Europe, then they would be talking about one of the best goals of the season," the Brit concluded.