Hope it comes soon: Sunil Chhetri on India reaching FIFA World Cup
Indian football team captain Sunil Chhetri is looking forward to the day when the Blue Tigers qualify for the FIFA World Cup.
Indian football team captain Sunil Chhetri is eagerly anticipating the day when the Blue Tigers qualify for the FIFA World Cup and expressed hope that this moment arrives soon. India has never qualified for the FIFA World Cup and has not come close to making it to the showpiece event. Since 1990, India have regularly participated in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers, but have never made it to the final round.
The upcoming FIFA World Cup in 2026 provides another opportunity for India to make a mark. Drawn alongside Qatar, Kuwait, and Afghanistan in their group, India needs to secure a top-two spot to advance to the next round. If they do that, Igor Stimac's team will once need to achieve a top-two position in the third round to realise their dream of qualifying for the FIFA World Cup.
Chhetri, optimistic about India's chances, emphasised the enormity of the achievement for the country when it happens. "I have so many dreams about that day, he said in an interview with FIFA.
“It is going to be humongous. The anticipation and hope that it will bring to the entire nation are something that I know I will never forget in my life."
"The day that happens, the country will go mad. As an Indian, it's going to be one of the best days of my life. There are so many people like me who can't wait to see that day, and I just hope it comes soon for us," Chhetri added.
Should India qualify for the upcoming FIFA World Cup, Chhetri, the country's leading goalscorer, will play a pivotal role. Chhetri has single-handedly won matches for India and continues to be their main man in attack.
The experienced striker will turn 42 by the time the showpiece event begins. While playing at the FIFA World Cup is not at the forefront of his thoughts, Chhetri expressed his desire to simply relish the experience of representing his country.
"Because I'm 39, I don't have long-term targets as far as me being on the pitch is concerned. I think about the next three months, and then the next three months, and then we see how it goes," he said.
While acknowledging his age, Chhetri emphasised his commitment to contributing to the team's success.
"Right now, I feel really good physically. I can see that I do contribute to the team, both for my country and my club. As long as I'm enjoying it, I will be here. I don't know how many days, how many months, how many years that will be. The day I stop enjoying, and the day I can't contribute, I will be done," he explained.
In a reflective tone, he concluded, "I'm just happy that I'm here. This is the bonus period; I'm just enjoying it. I don't know when it's going to end. I just want to enjoy it," he said.