Chhetri's heartfelt message to inspire a nation
Representing the nation for the past 13 years on the international stage, the one footballer who stands as a shining beacon in the resurgence which Indian football has witnessed in recent years is none other than Sunil Chhetri. The ‘Captain, Leader, Legend’, as he is lovingly called by the fans of both club (Bengaluru FC) and country alike, will be playing his 100th match for India today at Mumbai.
The inaugural Hero Intercontinental Cup currently underway will see India locking horns with Kenya on Monday, but riding above the tension on the ground will be Chhetri’s emotional plea to the nation prior to the game. The skipper came to his Twitter page to share a message with all those who didn’t turn up at the Mumbai Football Arena on Friday to witness India thrashing Chinese Taipei 5-0. It was also a day when the 33-year old scored an international hattrick after eight years.
If you haven’t heard his message yet, here it is:
This is nothing but a small plea from me to you. Take out a little time and give me a listen. pic.twitter.com/fcOA3qPH8i— Sunil Chhetri (@chetrisunil11) June 2, 2018
India currently sit 97th in the FIFA rankings, an incredible development over the past three years, as they sat 76 ranks lower at a dismal 173 as of March 2015. Chhetri, India’s highest goalscorer till date, has been one of the main observers of India’s growth, with his captaincy being lauded by many. Thus, when a man of such stature makes such a humble request, the nation as a whole should respond.
His heartfelt messages were echoed by thousands across the country and retweeted profusely. It also led to tickets being completely sold out for Monday’s fixture, with thousands expected to turn up to celebrate the legend. Some of the biggest stars around the country backed the captain, and even the football fans were not far behind to echo their whole-hearted support.
Here are some of those messages:
Friends!!! Listen to this amazing, humble and an inspiring message from @chetrisunil11. He is right. I see lots of people on Twitter passionately discussing European football clubs. Ek nazar inki taraf bhi doston. Ye apne he hai. Jai Ho.👍🇮🇳. #FootballInIndia https://t.co/ZPcdIQk6bU— Anupam Kher (@AnupamPKher) June 2, 2018
Legend 💫 can I have tickets pls 😀🙌🏽 https://t.co/OysLcazVVc— Sania Mirza (@MirzaSania) June 3, 2018
Omg. This is so sweet. And a little heartbreaking. Indian football captain Sunil Chhetri stressing on why we need to go to the stadium and cheer them on. Is the most heartfelt appeal ever. https://t.co/6ZO5B16MWx— Naomi Datta (@nowme_datta) June 2, 2018
Abuse us, yell at us, criticize us... but please get involved . Come watch Indian Football in the stadium. Sunil Chhetri impassioned plea to sports lovers.— kasturi shankar (@KasthuriShankar) June 2, 2018
Very moving. Very motivating. watch his video.
Comeon, mumbaikars, show some love ! #IndianFootball #sunilChhetri https://t.co/k3mvAEXrWp
Big time... India needs to recognise every sport equally. We are a football loving nation and if the right opportunity given we can hv our EPL.We support you always— keith dsouza (@tweetkeith07) June 3, 2018
As the Indian players gear up to add another trophy to the cabinet, all that we need to do is fill the stadium, get behind the team and #BackTheBlue.
Tickets for the matches are available at the Mumbai Football Arena box office between 10am and 7pm.
You can also book your tickets online. Click here