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Home / Pune News / 20K grass pitches will beat artificial turf dependence: Chhetri

20K grass pitches will beat artificial turf dependence: Chhetri

India football captain says schools should come together and organise more tournaments with the help of district and state.

pune Updated: Jan 24, 2020 16:28 IST
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Students of Global Indian International School at Balewadi paying attention to their idol Sunil Chhetri, who visited them on Thursday.
Students of Global Indian International School at Balewadi paying attention to their idol Sunil Chhetri, who visited them on Thursday. (HT PHOTO)

PUNE Sunil Chhetri is not less of an idol when it comes to football in India. The India football captain was in the city on Thursday to launch the a sports performance enhancing data analytics system at the Global Indian International School at Balewadi on Thursday. Chhetri is currently playing in the ISL for Bengaluru FC. Amidst a freewheeling interaction with students, Chhetri took on questions from Jigar Hindocha, offering a broad view of football in India.

Excerpts:

Clubs in Pune are training young players on grounds with artifical turf? Isn’t that an injury risk? What is your view?

Kids train on artificial grounds because they don’t have real grounds in India. If we have 20,000 real grounds (natural turf) for players, then who will use artifical turf? Even the top Indian Super League (ISL) teams sometimes struggle to get a proper ground to train on. It is changing, but it will take time. You cannot expect a nice, blush, green grass ground. We choose artificial turf because it is easy to maintain and it is easy to lay. Otherwise, no one wants to play on artificial turf.

There is a dramatic increase in the number of u10 and u12 tournaments. What is your view on competition at that age (10-13)?

Very, very important. Not only districts, but schools should also take interest. No matter how well you train Monday to Friday, if you are not playing a match on Sunday you will never improve. Trainings are like rehearsals. The real thing is always a match, so it is very important, especially for the young ones, to play as many matches as possible. Schools should come together and organise more tournaments. The district can help. The state can help. The national league can help. But matches, they are very important.

ISL vs I-League. Compatible? Healthy competition? Or unfair structures of football in the country?

There is no competition. I-League is the country’s league and ISL is also the country’s league. Both are producing players. I just want to wish them luck, especially the Indian players, because they are the ones who are going to make it to the Indian team.

Your ISL season with Bengaluru FC so far, are you happy?

Our own success in the last six years, now means that even the second or third position dose not feel good. All teams are playing strongly and are very difficult to beat. We are happy to be on top right now. We have four games left and our job is to do as good as we can, then whatever the result, we can take it.

What are you views on the Mohun Bagan and Atletico de Kolkata merger?

I am happy. We all knew that Mohun Bagan and East Bengal both had to come to the ISL. Because of their old history we enjoyed playing against both Mohun Bagan and East Bengal. I wish them luck for next season... apart from the two games they will play against us.