Sunil Chhetri has issued a rallying cry for the India Under-17 team asking them not to be scared while facing higher ranked teams. The Indian captain emphasized that this is a huge moment for Indian football and the team should give it their all so as not to have any regrets after the tournament.
The Indian U-17 football team is going to create history as they prepare to participate in a FIFA World Cup for the first time and the buzz is hard to miss. The team is not leaving any stones unturned as they gear up for their opening match against the USA on October 6 in New Delhi. Ahead of the tournament, the players got a huge vote of confidence from national team skipper Sunil Chhetri who advised them to give their best against huge odds.
"You just enjoy man. This moment is not going to come back. This tournament, the three games you are going to play, is probably going to be the most important days of your lives," Chhetri told the youngsters at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru and presented the India U-17 players with the Nike kit that they will use during the tournament.
The 33-year-old, who helped India beat Macau in AFC Asian Cup qualifiers this week to cement their place at the top of the table, told the team that he was willing to trade his 15-year career with the senior team to take part in the tournament that he considers
“This team is much better than we were and I am not just saying it for the sake of it. The level in which you guys are playing right now is amazing. I was coming from my house to here and thinking what should I tell you guys but all I want to say is ‘enjoy it’,” said the Bengaluru FC skipper.
“This tournament is going to be one of the most important days of your lives, I guarantee you that. Make sure you make everything perfect- every minute, every shot, every tackle, every stride. Listen to your coaches, get your
“We would all love to be at your place. I would give 15 years of my career to play in the World Cup, where you are playing. This is brilliant. So make the most of it. Don’t take pressure but listen and go and give your best and the whole country will applaud.”
Chhetri, who has scored an incredible 54 goals for India, has played in some high profile games himself and has never let the big occasion get to him. The Bengaluru FC skipper gave the youngsters the same advice about playing the game and not the occasion.
“Just don’t be scared. Don’t think about things like which country is coming to play, what is the crowd going to think. Just give your best. You’re playing for the nation, for your country. So give your best to your country. If you play like that, you will sleep better thinking you gave your all. The scoreline is not in your hands. What is in your hands is that you go and give your best,” he concluded.
The Indian team has been placed in a difficult group alongside United States of America, Colombia, and Ghana. The hosts will kick off their campaign against the United States on October 06 followed by matches against Colombia on October 9 and Ghana on October 11.