Ever since breaking into the scenes of international football, Sunil Chhetri has been exceptional with his consistency. The Indian forward is not only the best striker in the country but also ranks really high on the world stage. Chhetri sits right in the top three when it comes to the most number of international goals by active footballers. Even at the age of 37, Sunil Chhetri is India’s best striker and he has shown it in the ongoing AFC Asia Cup Qualifiers.
In India’s first game of Group D against Cambodia, Chhetri scored a brace and helped India win 2-0. On Saturday, Chhetri’s free-kick goal was the first goal of the match between India and Afghanistan. Eventually, India won the game 2-1 giving the Blue Tigers a chance to finish at the top of the table. These performances are just to validate the statement that Chhetri is still India’s go-to man even after 17 years of an international career. Notably, Chhetri played his first international game on 12 June 2005 against Pakistan.
And the 37-year-old says he is ready to give another 17 years in a heartbeat. After India’s win over Afghanistan, Chhetri shared an emotional post wherein he thanked his teammates for making a special day even more special. The India football team captain thanked every individual by mentioning their names and what they did for him on a special night.
“When you’re 37, you don’t bring in special days on the stroke of midnight. You almost never make it until then. Body clock, and all that. And so, the team and every single person who was at the Salt Lake last night – decided to mark my 17th year of playing for the country, in the most special way possible.
“The coaching staff and medical team, got in early like always to set the ‘party’ up. Everyone’s best clothes were on hangers. Gurpreet and Sandesh had no intention of giving the dressing rooms its quiet, till we took the little get together to the pitch. In walked the youngsters – Aakash, Roshan, Suresh, Anwar and Jeakson. Liston danced, Ashique sang, Manvir brought the music along. And just when it looked like celebration had done its time, Brandon, Udanta and Sahal announced that they were now in charge, and that we’d only just got started,” Chhetri wrote in his post.
“It’s been an honour that I cannot explain in words, to have worn the national team shirt for 17 years. I’d commit to doing it for 17 more in a heartbeat. Till then, I’ll be grateful for nights like these, even if it means doing the whole ‘midnight’ thing a little early.”