I want to stay at Bengaluru FC: Sunil Chhetri

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Image Courtesy: © Facebook - Bengaluru FC

I want to stay at Bengaluru FC: Sunil Chhetri

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Arun S Kaimal

04/16/2016

Bengaluru FC are on the cusp of winning the I-League for the second time in three years, and their influential skipper Sunil Chhetri, has expressed his desire to continue the association with the club, for the seasons to come. Bengaluru will be crowned champions, if they defeat Salgaocar tomorrow.

Speaking to media persons on Friday, before the team’s clash against Salgaocar on Sunday, Sunil Chhetri opened up about the club’s form in the I-League, the fans, his contract and much more.

The 2013/14 I-League champions have been on a six-match unbeaten run after suffering a defeat against Mohun Bagan back in February, and Chhetri said that winning the I-League in front of the home fans would be the perfect scenario.

“We would love for that (winning the title at home) to happen. The kind of passion and emotion that the fans bring is massive. I’ve played for many clubs in my 13-year career, but these guys are the best. They are one of the main reasons why we have done so well,” Chhetri was quoted as saying by the Hindu.

Chhetri believes that the loss they suffered against the ten men of Sporting Clube de Goa, at the beginning of the season, helped them learn from their mistakes.

“That was a real setback. To lose to a 10-man side — at home — is something that I did not expect. The gaffer (coach Ashley Westwood) — a stickler for detail — gave all of us a real hammering, including me. He gets in your face and tells you what went wrong. Thankfully, all of us know our roles, and we bounced back. This shows that even when we falter, we are strong enough to make a comeback,” said the 31-year old.

The emergence of youngsters like Udanta Singh, Malsawmzuala, and Daniel Lalhlimpuia has been another reason to rejoice for the club, and Chhetri said that Coach Ashley Westwood’s policy of treating junior and senior players as equals has seen youngsters coming to the fore.

“Malsawmzuala, Daniel (Lalhlimpuia), Udanta (Singh), Len (Seiminlen Doungel), Amrinder Singh — these are all under-22 players who regularly play for us. When we started with 11 Indian players against Ayeyawady United FC (on Wednesday, in an AFC Cup match in Bengaluru), people were shocked. That was a big match. If we had lost, we were out (BFC won 5-3). It tells you how much the coach believes in us. Senior or junior, every player is treated equally,” said the Indian international.

Chhetri’s contract is up for renewal soon, and the striker said that he is keen on continuing his association with the club after spending three seasons in the Garden City.

“Yes, I feel at home here. I love the coaching staff, the owners, the players, the fans and the city. The temperature here is crossing 40°C of late (smiles), but even so, I want to stay at BFC,” Chhetri said.

The skipper also expressed hope, that coach Ashley Westwood would continue his association with the club, after guiding them to the I-League title in 2013/14 and Federation Cup in 2014/15.

“That is not in my hands (Ashley Westwood’s contract situation), but yes, of course, I want him to stay. It is like a family here at BFC. He is the captain for all of us. Why to fix things which are not broken?,” said Chhetri before signing off. 

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