Sunil Chhetri has been named to Captain India in the Nehru Cup which kicks-off at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Wednesday (August 22). National Coach Wim Koevermans announced Chhetri’s name after the evening practice session at the Jaypee Greens ground on Monday (August 20).
Chhetri who presently plays for Portuguese giants Sporting Lisbon said, “It’s a huge honour to lead the country.”
“This edition of the Nehru Cup is a special one as it is being organized in the Platinum Jubilee Year of the AIFF. Captaining one’s country, that too in the Capital City of your own Country is a huge prize for any player,” he added.
“At the same time it’s an extra burden as you cannot ever shy away from the responsibility.”
The light drizzle at the picturesque Jaypee Greens seemed to lift up the spirits of the footballers who enjoyed the change from the usual humid conditions.
“It’s up to us to keep the tradition alive in the Nehru Cup. The Coach has been working hard and pinning a lot of hopes on us. We cannot let him and our country down,”Mehtab Hossain maintained later.
“This is a new generation. I’ve been lucky enough to have played and learnt a lot from the likes of Bhaichung, Mahesh, Deepak and Climax. But every step is a learning one and despite being a senior, you get to update yourself when a younger bunch pushes you on the field,” former AIFF Player-of-the-Year Gourmangi Singh said.
“Every match will be a tough one for us. We need to keep up the momentum. The practice sessions have been informative,” Clifford Miranda quipped.
U-22 striker Manandeep Singh said, “It’s a dream come true for me.”
“When I was earlier in Goa with the age-group teams (from U-14 onwards), we used to watch the Nehru Cup on television. Today, my hard work has paid off and I’m in the final squad. But I know, there’s a lot of scope for improvement,” he concluded.