India’s football national team captain Sunil Chhetri is delighted to note that the Blue Tigers will have the opportunity to play two friendlies against Oman and the United Arab Emirates. Chhetri feels it would be a great chance for the national team to learn from their opposition.
Meanwhile, Chhetri will miss both the matches due to medical reasons as he was tested positive for Covid-19. The veteran striker had finished the seventh season of the Hero Indian super League as he scored eight goals for Bengaluru FC and finished as the top goal scorer among the Indian players.
On the other hand, Chhetri feels it is great that the national team is back in action after testing time due to coronavirus pandemic.
“To lose out on international football for an entire year was such a big disappointment. But these are unprecedented times and they aren’t in our control. So, we have little to complain about. That said – I am both excited and grateful about the two friendlies which the Blue Tigers will play this month – and against some quality opposition which only betters the anticipation. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to be a part of it,” Chhetri said while talking to AIFF.
The experienced Indian player went on to reveal why playing against teams like Oman and UAE will bring great positives for the team and the players must try to make the most of it.
“It pleases me more than I can tell. I’ve always been on about how we need to better ourselves in Asia and that can happen only when we come up against top opponents. Oman and the UAE most certainly fit that bill,” Chhetri said.
“When I first heard of the possible opponents, I was extremely excited even though it was just a possibility. I hope we, as a team, make the most of this chance, give a good account of ourselves and most importantly, learn from the experience,” he added.
On the other hand, the Indian football made a smooth comeback as the seventh edition of the ISL was successfully conducted without any interruptions. Chhetri praised the organisers of AIFF and FSDL for their work behind the scenes.
“Like I said – these are unprecedented times, but despite the circumstances, the fact that we have managed to get so much football in, is commendable. We were in a bio-bubble for five months and trust me, it was difficult.
“You can only imagine how difficult it must have been to put together the Hero ISL, the Hero I-League and every other competition. There are countries where football has come to a complete standstill. So, to be able to keep it going is something we should all be grateful for,” he said.
India will face Oman on 25th March at Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Stadium 7:15 pm IST.