Chhetri explains how break from football has helped him improve physically

The upcoming edition of the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) is set to be hosted in Goa behind closed doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With all teams set to stay in their bio-secure bubbles for the duration of the league, Bengaluru FC skipper Sunil Chhetri advised the youngsters in the Hero ISL to respect the necessary precautions ahead of the new campaign.

“There will be a lot of testing and it will be very strict. I’m telling all the boys who are going to be involved – please be sensible. It’s not easy to be inside a bubble for five-six months; more so for the young ones. Senior players like me are ready to just sit in a room and relax but for the safety of the league, we all have to be very sensible,” the talismanic striker shared in an interview with the Hindustan Times.

The Indian striker opened up about his experience during the COVID-19 enforced lockdown and spoke about how much he’s missed the beautiful game, Chhetri said, “We footballers, those who play for the country as well, keep whining about not getting enough rest but this time we got one. Not an ideal situation and I would never prefer such a long break.”

READ: Three stadiums in Goa announced as hosts for Hero ISL 2020-21

He went on to explain how he’s been making the most of the lockdown. “The break was a welcome change because you never get time to train on specific body parts or movements. I had a thorough check-up to see what niggles I was neglecting. I don’t remember playing completely pain free for the last so many years,” Chhetri said.

“I started rehab on my left hamstring and while I was doing it, I realised there were so many other parts I could work on. Not saying that I am going to score plenty of goals again, but I feel better physically. I have also realised the importance of rest, especially at this age,” he explained.

While discussing the efforts that Bengaluru are looking to take to keep their players busy and sharp over the course of the season, Chhetri said, “As far as our club is concerned, what we’re trying is to first assess the kind of ground that we are going to get, the hotel where we can move, how much we can move, what’s the bubble like, and then create as much space as possible. We’re trying to fix a volleyball court for hand volleyball and foot volleyball inside the premises.”

“We are going to have a gaming room where there’ll be different board games. We will try to have different kinds of seminars, not only on sports but also on financial education. I just hope that the clubs can find a way of maneuvering inside the bubble, just so that we can sustain the five-six months. For everyone, the mental game is very, very important. You don’t want somebody to give up and crack,” the Blue Tigers skipper added.

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