The 28-year old striker is on loan from Sporting Lisbon till the end of the I-League season and has repeatedly voiced his frustration over lack of game time at Portugal...Sunil Chhetri's return to the I-League scene was the highlight of the winter transfer window this year. The former Dempo man had come back to his homeland in a bid to see more playing time after he had endured a tough few months as part of Sporting Lisbon's B team.
Now on loan at Churchill Brothers, the striker is happy that he will be be playing a lot more as compared to his sojourn at Portugal.
"When I went to Portugal, I didn’t go there for money. All I wanted was to learn," Chhetri told The Telegraph. "I really worked hard to get into the team but didn’t get a chance to play in more than five matches. That was very frustrating. Judging from the kind of hard work I put in there, I simply deserved much more than what I got," he added.
The India captain is a little hesitant when asked whether he was planning on returning to Portugal on completion of his three-month stint in India. The former Mohun Bagan player stated that he would be in contact with the officials from Lisbon.
"But don’t forget the fact that I have a three-year contract with Lisbon. As per rules, I am supposed to honour it after the loan period with Churchill is over," clarified Chhetri.
"Let me see, what I do about it. I have to talk to Sporting Lisbon officials and take a decision. There are some problems back there also. The team is not doing well, that’s an issue," revealed the 28-year old.
The former Sporting Kansas man was happy that he is seeing game time with Churchill Brothers.
"Here, I get to play at least 17 matches in the next couple of months. That’s a big thing, that adds to my confidence. I want to play and score goals," he said.
However, the striker repented that the national team could not beat Myanmar during the AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers. The 1-0 defeat ensured that India's chances to take part in the AFC Challenge Cup held at Maldives in 2014 hung by a thread.
"That was a very bad slip. We have ourselves to blame," said the former JCT player. "As a team, I still maintain, we were better than Myanmar. Their only advantage was they were playing on home ground. But we missed six chances. Can any side expect to win after wasting half a dozen opportunities?" he rued.
The Delhi native was happy over India's rise in the FIFA Rankings. The Blue Tigers made a resounding leap of over 20 places to the 143rd spot. Chhetri attributed the progress to the increasing number of friendlies the team is playing and praised the work of the Indian FA.
"It is good to see we were elevated to the 143rd place in the FIFA rankings. That’s a nice feeling. These days we have been playing friendly matches regularly. The people who are planning the matches in the federation are doing a good job. Things are moving in the right direction," signed off Chhetri.
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