Sunil Chhetri feels that the strikers are to be blamed for poor performances against Bangladesh and Afghanistan in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers. The Blue Tigers might be out of the contention for the World Cup but can still qualify for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup by winning two of the remaining games.
India’s chances of making it to the next round of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers are all but over, with them failing to register a single win, having earned just three points in five matches played so far. While it was expected that India would drop points against heavyweights like Oman and Qatar, logging wins over the likes of Bangladesh and Afghanistan was surely on the cards. But, both the games against the minnows ended 1-1, with India escaping defeat by scoring late goals. Indian skipper Sunil Chhetri feels that the strikers are to be blamed for the outcome in the aforementioned matches.
“The way we played Bangladesh at home and Afghanistan away was such a low, the ones to be blamed are the players and especially the strikers. There is no going around it, I still remember there was a corner against Aghanistan and I missed from point-blank range, you can't change these things," said Sunil Chhetri, as reported by Hindustan Times.
"If we got six points from those two matches, things would look so different. It's so sad that the whole team is going to be blamed from the AIFF, the management, the coaches and they aren't doing anything wrong. Even the physios and the doctors are working so hard. If we, the strikers, go out and do what we did against those two teams, we have to just raise our hands and say we're sorry,” added Chhetri.
Meanwhile, the only positive from the campaign so far has been the draw against the 2019 Asian Cup winners Qatar, away from home. But, India can still qualify for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup, by winning a couple of matches out of the remaining fixtures in the qualifiers, which are currently on hold due to the pandemic situation.