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AFC Asian Cup 2019 will help Indian football team discover itself: Sunil Chhetri

Sunil Chhetri admitted that the AFC Asian Cup in 2019 will be a big test for the Indian football team

football Updated: Nov 08, 2017 19:00 IST
Asian News International
Asian News International
Asian News International, New Delhi
Indian football,Indian football team,Sunil Chhetri
Indian football team talisman Sunil Chhetri (L) will be playing in his second AFC Asian Cup in 2019.(AFP)

Indian football team captain Sunil Chhetri believes the upcoming AFC Asian Cup at UAE in 2019 will help make the team realise the areas it needs to work upon and improve.

Chhetri, who has scored 55 goals in international football, said, “The top 2-3 teams in Asia like Iran, South Korea and Japan are in fact on par. Playing at such levels will therefore, help us gauge where we lie as a group, as well as, as individual players vis a vis the top echelons of world football. That is of paramount importance as Indian football moves forward.”

Chhetri, 33, emphasised that the AFC Asian Cup will be a test for the team as they will rub shoulders with the best in Asia.

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Commenting on youngsters like Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Sandesh Jhingan, Udanta Singh and others in the national team, Chhetri said, “I will always put my money on them. In fact, I will be very disappointed if the trio does not dominate Indian football for the next decade. I also hope they get tough competition, with the U-17 and the U-16 squads pushing them further. Those batches are showing a lot of promise and doing well for us. The more the youth push their seniors, the better it is for the entire squad.”

Chhetri has played a major role in helping the team qualify for the AFC Asian Cup twice, and he described the same as one of his ‘highest achievements’ in life.

“The memories of Doha 2011 will stay with me forever. It’s the top-most tournament in Asia and qualification was not just on my priority list, but of the entire squad,” the Bengaluru FC said.

India’s forthcoming AFC Asian Cup qualifier against Myanmar is slated to be held on November 14.

First Published: Nov 08, 2017 19:00 IST