In an exclusive interview with Goal, the Indian captain talks about the U-17 World Cup, his coaching camp and the issues surrounding Indian Football...
Sunil Chhetri is in Delhi, in order to start a 6 day coaching camp at the Ambedkar Stadium, to help and increase the awareness among the country's youth
"I am really happy. It's a great initiative and the quality, the equipments and the coaches have been great. Although it has been raining the turnover of the kids has been great," he said.
"There is a mix of talent here, and I have been highly impressed with the kids that have come," the former JCT striker added.
The Indian captain stressed on the importance of quality academies in India and added that such initiatives will help in the development of Indian football and such initiatives can help in bridging the gap between Indian and European football.
"Quality academies really matter. Every kid, if he gets the right platform to perform, is going to be good for the country. We need to make more academies where we start training kids from the age of 8-10. The more quicker you train the talent, it will be better for the country," he opined
Chhetri was optimistic about India's chances of hosting the U17 World Cup and was sure that the tournament will only lead to development of Indian football. He stated, "I am really looking forward to it. I think we are going to get it and once we get it, I hope all the kids get the right chance."
"We are not going to fail, and I'll tell you why. We are nowhere right now, so whatever we do, we are going to be achieving things. It is going to be massive," he further mentioned.
The striker had no problem with the conference system starting in the I-League and was looking forward to being a part of it. He opined,"As a player I am happy playing the European way or the MLS way. For me more teams, more games are important. I should know the whole calendar beforehand and there shouldn't be any manipulation" he said.
The striker stressed that Indian football can only improve by the right marketing strategy and that this was one of the main reasons holding the football back in India
"For me viewership is not the problem, but the timings of the games, the quality of the stadiums has been the main problem. We need to make the right arrangements, right marketing to bring the kids to the stadium," he told Goal.
The Churchill Brothers striker was unsure about his future and will be heading back to Portugal to discuss his future
"I will be heading back to Portugal and will talk to them, because I have a three year contract with them. If the talks are positive I'll stay there, if not I will come back," he concluded.
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