Sunil Chhetri, India’s skipper and finally christened top scorer for country with a record forty three goals, has elucidated the delight he is feeling after breaking the national record held by former skipper Bhaichung Bhutia, for what felt like eternity.
Asked what Bhutia said to him after the match, Chhetri expounded, “He came to me and congratulated me. He’s somebody who I’ve always respected and emulated on the playing field. He came to training yesterday and told me that I’d surely do justice in the next game. Whatever I am now, I thank him. From the moment I was chosen for the national team till now. Every single team that I’ve played with have supported me as well. So I’d like to thank them for that.”
“Yes, It does give you a lot of happiness as I have my mum was here along with my family. I had around twenty thousand family members there on the field as well, so I was pleased as they’ve supported me for a long time, but let’s not take anything away from the game we played. I’m very happy. We played exactly the way we trained, on the ground. I think it’s very pleasing for the coach, the way we train and the way we play, it is insane. I’m sure others will tell you that as we train very hard despite having only a few days to train. Thankfully we could do the same, more than seventy per cent over the match. That’s why we’re very happy,” was his reply to being asked if being on the home side made it easier to break the record.
When he was reminded of his various partnerships he had shared over the years in the line-up and asked his opinion of Robin Singh as his partner, Chhetri replied very thoughtfully, “You have to give the kid a bit of the chance. We have played three games together. We play at the same club so that gives us an added advantage over there. For somebody who works really hard and needs bit of a push, I’m sure under the guidance of the gaffer here and the club he’ll do really well. He’s somebody whose presence is really important for us as he holds the ball well. As far as our combination is concerned, it’ll improve match after match. As far as my job goes, I will contribute in whatever way possible for the team and build the combination."
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