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Sunil Chhetri

Sunil Chhetri: India has to improve in away matches

16:57 EAT 03/06/2018
Sunil Chhetri India
The Indian skipper will make his 100th international appearance on Monday as the Blue Tigers take on Kenya in the Intercontinental Cup.

When India take the field at the Mumbai Football Arena on June 4, 33-year-old Sunil Chhetri will be donning the national colours for the 100th time.

Chhetri, who began his senior career in 2002, revealed that he didn’t expect to reach this milestone. ‘’I had a dream but never dreamt of playing 100 International matches. This is unbelievable. I'm completely honoured. 100 games is a big deal but I don't say that with arrogance,’’ he commented.

The Indian skipper, who bagged a hattrick in the opening match against Chinese Taipei, took to Twitter to urge fans to turn up for the tournament. Reflecting to the video, he explained, ‘’The video wasn't for the special occasion (100th appearance). I didn't believe the impact. I thank everyone who has joined in.

‘’We played the game (on June 1, Friday) and it was great to celebrate with the fans but I was speaking to Sandesh (Jhingan) about how clubs have done well at the club level. The topmost is Kerala Blasters, where the players can't hear. You want to live the 90 minutes, this is what we want to feel. This is something we didn't feel in Mumbai.’’

The Bengaluru FC stalwart has claimed that during his journey, he has turned into a calmer person. ‘’I have become calmer. Once you grow older and play more, you tend to start filtering stuff which isn't needed for you. My thought process is very specific but that has made me wiser and calmer,’’ he added.

Currently positioned at the 97th spot in the FIFA rankings, the Indian side has made a huge jump in the recent years. The skipper believes that the squad has the determination to move higher up the table as he said, ‘’We have the desire to move up the ranks. We need to keep working hard. I don't take rankings seriously because of the way it works. One agenda is to play well and try to win.

"To reach under 100 was difficult but to stay there is very, very difficult. We have to make sure to give our best at every opportunity.

‘’We want to improve in away matches. We are good at home but need to do better away. I just hope we have more away fixtures.’’

Lastly, the Indian international expressed his views on the current state of football in India saying, ‘’I think Indian football is on the right path. There's a steady growth. But when we compare to Asian countries, we're behind and it makes me sad. We have to speed up. Everyone has to work hard as where we want to go is far. We want to rub shoulders with the best in Asia.’’