Hope my I-League record is broken, says Chhetri

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Hope my I-League record is broken, says Chhetri

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SportsCafe Desk


National captain Sunil Chhetri hopes that his record of being the top Indian goalscorer in the I-league is broken soon, saying that it will be good for the national team. He also said that assuming that India are in an easy group for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers would be a big mistake.

Sunil Chhetri, who recently became the Indian top goalscorer in the I-league, hopes that Indian strikers make better use of their chances in the I-League and break his record soon. Currently preparing for the match against Mumbai FC, Chhetri's goal for Bengaluru FC against Aizawl FC saw him overtake Baichung Bhutia and claim the record.

“I hope somebody breaks the record. What it will mean is that if there is some striker scoring 100 goals [in league matches], he will be scoring for the national team also. It will be good for the country,” Chhetri told reporters after Bengaluru FC’s training session on Friday.

Chhetri is also the top goalscorer for India in international matches, having scored 51 times in 91 appearances for India.

“The worst part is apart from me, Bhaichung and Jeje Lalpekhlua, you don’t see Indian strikers playing day-in and day-out. To get a chance to score goals, you need to be playing day-in and day-out. That’s very important. We have to have more strikers to start games. Most clubs play with foreign strikers so it becomes difficult. I’m all for competition but when you look at it, Indian strikers get very few chances’” he said.

Bengaluru FC, the current I-league defending champions, have been having a hard time of late, and have not a won a match in their five previous fixtures. Chhetri says his team needs to make full use of the opportunities available to them.

The amount of chances we have missed is unbelievable. The goals that we are missing are going to hurt us, it’s as simple as that,” he said.

He will also be leading India's national football team into the 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers. Indian are drawn with Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, and Macau, and many think it should be easy for India to end in the top 2 from this group. However, Chhetri disagrees.

“That’s one mistake we shouldn’t make [think of the qualifying group as favourable]. All my life, we have always got top draws where there was no chance of progressing. So that’s why people think now it is a favourable draw but it isn’t. The last time we played Myanmar away, we lost 0-1 and they played very well. We don’t know anything about Macau. Kyrgyzstan is doing really well. It is not going to be easy,” he said.

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