Local boy Subhasish Bose, who led Mohun Bagan Super Giant to victory in the Indian Super League (ISL) Shield at the Salt Lake Stadium in April, is now gearing up for what could be the biggest match of his career at his familiar home ground.

The Blue Tigers have been training in the City of Joy for the past week. On Thursday, they face Kuwait in their crucial fifth match of the FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

India currently sit second in their group with four points. A win against Kuwait is critical for them to progress to the third round of the qualifiers, a historic achievement the players look to achieve.

"The match against Kuwait is hugely important for us. It is a golden opportunity to create history in Indian football. After all, India could never reach Round 3 of the World Cup qualifiers. A victory in this match would also ensure our place in the 2027 Asian Cup final rounds," Bose told AIFF.com

Indian football icon and captain, Sunil Chhetri, is set to close the curtain on his remarkable international career after Thursday's match. With 150 international caps and 94 goals, Chhetri's impact on Indian football goes beyond numbers, leaving a lasting emotional legacy.

The 39-year-old's incredible journey has seen him set many records and reshape the national narrative surrounding football. Since making his debut for the national team in 2005, Chhetri has inspired many youngsters.

Bose, who debuted in 2018, has now spent six years alongside Chhetri in the national camp. Bose spoke about the irreplaceable legacy of the Indian captain and the team's desire to send him off with a perfect farewell – a victory against Kuwait.

"The motivation level among the players is higher than usual; they all know this will be Sunil bhai’s farewell match and there is an urge among all of us to make it memorable. We all want to win this match, a farewell gift for Sunil Bhai.

"Sunil Bhai is a role model and an inspiration for many youngsters, who joined the national team much later. It’s a special match, indeed. But it's also an India match; we are all playing for India and will do everything for an Indian victory. We want to win this match to make 140 crore people in this country happy," said Bose.

The defender even named some players he believes could rise to the challenge of filling the void left by Chhetri and propel Indian football forward.

“We have many talented strikers in the team. (Lallianzuala) Chhangte, Manvir (Singh), Rahim (Ali). They are good, and given the opportunity and game time, they are capable of delivering the goods. The absence of Sunil Bhai will definitely create a void.

“But I have seen that things change with the time. There are players in the current Indian team who have leadership qualities; some of them are captaining their club sides and doing well in their areas,” he added.

Bose is confident, as always, of the Kolkata crowd's unwavering support. However, he remains cautious of the threat posed by the Kuwaiti side.

He spoke about their strengths and outlined their approach to the game.

“We will play in front of a home crowd….the Kolkata crowd is amazing. I am sure they will continue to inspire us for 90 minutes.

"Kuwait are a good team. They have some fine players, especially on the wings, who have the necessary pace. A few of them are capable of firing accurate long rangers. They have a strong defence, too. Our main aim would be to play compact football and make the best use of the talented players we have in the attacking third. We have to keep our patience. After all, we have some good attackers, and we should be able to score and turn the match in our favour," concluded Bose.

The match between India and Kuwait is scheduled to kick off at 7 PM. It will be broadcasted on Sports 18 1, Sports 18 1 HD, and Sports 18 3, with live streaming available on JioCinema.