Sunil Chhetri has been named as the skipper for the AFC Challenge Cup 2012 Qualifiers where India begins their quest for a berth in the main tournament with the opener against Chinese Taipei on Monday.
As Bhaichung Bhutia is injured and omitted from the squad, coach Bob Houghton has decided to hand over the captain’s armband to the former Sporting Kansas striker.
During the 2011 Asian Cup in January, it was Climax Lawrence who captained the side with Bhaichung starting from the bench only against South Korea. Earlier Abhisheka Yadav had been given the responsibility in the friendly against Namibia last September while Mahesh Gawli skippered against Tajikistan in the 2008 edition of AFC Challenge Cup.
Chhetri has been one of the stars of the Indian national team especially after his exploits in the AFC Challenge Cup 2008 where hit hat-trick in the finals helped India win the tournament and get a direct entry into the 2011 Asian Cup.
He went on to prove his mettle by scoring twice at the continent’s elite competition against top sides like Bahrain and South Korea.
Goal.com congratulates Chhetri and wishes him all the best!