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 'I think my team is ready', Sunil Chhetri says after announcing his retirement

Sunil Chhetri's decision to retire after the June 6 match against Kuwait is the result of careful consideration, marking the end of a remarkable 19-year journey.

 I think my team is ready, Sunil Chhetri says after announcing his retirement

Captain Sunil Chhetri 


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 16 May 2024 12:54 PM GMT

The journey of Sunil Chhetri, the iconic captain of Indian football team, which commenced in 2006 from Quetta, Pakistan, is set to conclude on June 6, 2024, in Kolkata, marking an eventful 19-year career.

Sunil Chhetri shared insights into his decision-making process, emphasizing the gradual realization that it was time to hang up his National Team jersey.

"It's been a month. It started with a feeling and an instinct that it was time to call it a day. And it grew in me slowly and steadily every day. Finally, I reached this decision. And I think I made the right decision," he said.

Chhetri also stressed about the importance of the game against Kuwait. "This is one of the biggest games of my career. It is hugely important for the National Team. So, hopefully, we will do well against Kuwait and qualify for World Cup Qualifier third round", he added.

When asked about retiring after the Kuwait match instead of waiting for the subsequent fixture against Qatar, which could potentially mark India's qualification for the third round, Chhetri's response echoed a sense of intuition and the unique significance of playing at home. "Yeah, but then, let's say it was just an instinct. We're playing at home, that's in Salt Lake. It will not be the same," he explained.

Chhetri emphasized, "For my own sake, for my own satisfaction, that thing will be a secondary part of the equation. The first thing is to test for the country, man…we've got to because this is in our hands, now."

He also added that the team is capable to overcome the challenges without him. " Even if you need some points against Qatar, our team is quite capable. I think my team is ready," he added.

Reflecting on the personal implications of his retirement, Chhetri acknowledged mixed emotions but highlighted the understanding and support of his family. Their pride in his accomplishments and acceptance of his decision underscored the inevitability of this transition, tempered by the assurance that his legacy in Indian football will endure.

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