Indian football team captain ‘marvellous’ Sunil Chhetri thanked football fans across the country for the overwhelming support during the match against New Zealand.

Speaking to IANS, after a narrow loss to New Zealand, Chhetri said: “Our team’s pride and passion to represent the country is at an all-time high considering the nationwide outpour of love and support over the past week.”

“We are motivated to give it our very best on the pitch for our country, our fans and emerge victorious. I am hopeful that this excitement and energy will continue throughout the tournament,” Chhetri added.

On Thursday, Chhetri scored during India’s 1-2 loss to New Zealand in their last league encounter of the Hero Intercontinental Cup in front of a packed Mumbai Football Arena crowd, who braved the heavy downpour to cheer the team up.

Though India lost the match to New Zealand, Blue Tigers are guaranteed a spot in Sunday’s final, having finished the league stage on top of the table with six points.

The Kiwis too have the same points, but a superior goal difference helped the hosts remain on top.

Thanking the fans for their overwhelming support, the Indian captain said this was just the start of good times for the national football team.

“We believe that this is the start of an era where people will change their mindsets and come out in full support of all the sports that are represented by India’s national team,” he said.