Any game could be my last: Sunil Chhetri | Soccer News

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KOLKATA: Sunil Chhetri, 37, doesn’t know how long he will keep playing. He doesn’t want to speculate either because he takes things as they come. What he knows is that if the country is banned by Fifa after the Supreme Court handed over control of the AIFF to the Committee of Trustees, it will be a disaster for the country in general, and for him specifically. .
“I was scared when the headlines (about the SC verdict) came…it affects you,” Chhetri said here on Friday. “But then when you go in there, you understand that it’s not that dangerous and things will subside.”
As it stands, fingers will be crossed for some time. “I hope it’s under control and the country won’t be banned because it will be catastrophic for the country and especially for me.” He admits he is at a stage in his career where he could well walk away from the pitch. daytime. If a ban happens, that day could be the day and he’s not quite ready for it yet. In his own words, he is currently fit enough to fight a Udanta Singh Kumman, 12 years his junior. He also admits that things happen at the snap of a finger – “just like our great singer (KK) who I was a fan of” – and that any match could be his last.
As the SC backtrack on Praful Patel’s extended tenure and remove him and his committee, the shadow of a Fifa ban looms. Although many feared that the Asian Cup qualifiers, which will be played here from Wednesday, would not take place, the fact that it was fine would be a huge relief for Chhetri and his friends.
“No advantage at home without supporters”
The fear is now, however, of a lukewarm response for matches, despite India playing at home after almost three years.
About four years ago, during the Intercontinental Cup in Mumbai, Chhetri made an impassioned appeal to the fans to come to the stadium and support them. Amazingly, fans had responded, moving in large numbers to put down roots in India. Now, as Chhetri and India prepare for another tournament, will he have to make another such call?
“Do I need Kolkata?” the veteran striker, who will complete 17 years as an international footballer on June 12, looked a little surprised. “Fans always come to the stadium here to watch the football. It’s one of those places where you feel special,” he said. “If ATK Mohun Bagan’s ISL game can attract 38,000 fans on the ground, I’m sure an Indian game would also have a decent number in the stands.”
However, Chhetri’s optimism is not shared by the organizers since only 12,000 tickets, all free, have been distributed. They expect perhaps around half that number in the stands at Salt Lake Stadium at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday when India face Cambodia.
However, he warned that without the fans India would lose the home advantage which is so important in the sport. “These three teams (Cambodia, Afghanistan and Hong Kong) must feel the pressure when they play here in front of our home crowd,” he said.
The last time India played an international game here, a pre-World Cup qualifier against Bangladesh in October 2019, a decent crowd showed up. Although India flattered themselves with a 1-1 draw, Chhetri believes Wednesday will be a different day.
Interestingly, just a few days ago the Gardens of Eden went sold out for the IPL qualifiers.
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