Indian football team captain Sunil Chhetri on Friday hinted at his international retirement and said the he believes not many games are not left for him to play for his country.
“I understand that I don’t have many games left to play for my country. There’s no point in jumping the gun. Hence, personally I want to take one game at a time,” Chhetri was quoted as saying on the official website of the All India Football Federation (AIFF).
Among all the active international footballers, Chhetri is the second-highest goal-scorer with 72 goals, after Cristiano Ronaldo (99). Despite being 35 years of age, the National Team coach Igor Stimac termed him as someone with “the body of a 29-year-old”.
The Blue Tigers are already out of contention for a spot in the FIFA World Cup 2022 as they are yet to win a match in the ongoing qualifying tournament. However, the qualifiers, which is jointly the path for the AFC Asian Cup as well, have still kept India with a chance to play in the continental tournament.
“As a team, we need to win as many games as possible. The eventual aim is to qualify for AFC Asian Cup China 2023. We need to be consistently qualifying for the Continental Championship and there can be no compromise on that aspect,” Chhetri said.
“The belief in the squad is unmistakable. There’s no reason why we can’t be in China,” he added.
India are currently placed fourth with 3 points from 5 matches and are scheduled to play Qatar, Bangladesh and Afghanistan in the last three matches of qualifiers.
Chhetri was also seen speaking about his resolution for the upcoming year. “Personally, there’s no stop to be a better human being. Little by little, not by making big promises, I need to be calmer, read more, spend more time with my loved ones, and be more mindful about nature and environment,” he said.