India’s captain Sunil Chhetri is hopeful that he will keep playing and scoring in foreseeable future after equalling Pele’s record against Nepal in the SAFF Championship on Sunday at the Maldives Football National Stadium. India was able to get their first win of the tournament after two draws.
The talisman found the back of the net in the 82nd minute after an assist from Farukh Chaudhary. In fact, Chhetri had surprisingly missed a couple of chances in the match but he was finally able to grab it.
This was the 77th goal for the Indian player and he has leveled with Brazilian great Pele. Chhetri was playing in his 123rd match for the national team whereas Pele had achieved the same milestone in 92 games.
“I keep getting asked about my consistency, and I wish I had an answer. But the truth is, there is no blueprint. It’s more about wanting to turn up every single day and give it my best, which, thankfully, I’ve never fallen short of,” Chhetri told PTI after his latest strike.
“I have been extremely lucky to have played with some great footballers who don’t get enough credit. I’ve learned something from every single coach I have played for. It’s the coming together of many things — big and small — and I hope to keep doing it in the foreseeable future,” he added.
On the other hand, Chhetri added that he tries to take one step at a time and his focus has been always to give his best in the training sessions and the match.
“It might sound like a lie, but I’ve never given my future as a footballer any thought. As I said, the one thing I probably do the best is wake up and turn up to train and play. I look forward to it, thoroughly enjoy it and haven’t ever wanted to stop doing it.
“My future plan with football is literally what my next training session will look like. I am fortunate enough to have a support system around me that makes sure I don’t need to think or worry about anything that isn’t football. It just makes it all the easier to love what I do.”