A day after he scored a hat-trick to help hosts India beat Chinese Taipei 5-0 in the opening match of the Intercontinental Cup in Mumbai on Friday, Indian football captain Sunil Chhetri made an emotional appeal to the countrymen, urging them to support the game.
“…come to the stadium, do it on our face, scream at us, shout at us, abuse us and who knows, one day we might change you guys. You might start cheering for us,” Chettri said in a video message posted on his Twitter handle.
As per reports, Chhetri is now third on the list of the highest active goalscorers in international football with 59. He overtook USA’s Clint Dempsey and drew level with David Villa on the list and ahead of him are only Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Argentina’s Lionel Messi.
In the match on Friday, Chhetri, India’s all-time highest scorer, led by example once again, scoring in the 14th, 34th and 62nd minute of the opener at the Mumbai Football Arena.
Chhetri posted a video on his Twitter handle, requesting the countrymen to support football and come to the stadium to watch them play. Here’s the video:
This is nothing but a small plea from me to you. Take out a little time and give me a listen. pic.twitter.com/fcOA3qPH8i
— Sunil Chhetri (@chetrisunil11) June 2, 2018
Here’s the full transcript of the video
“All the fans, who came out in Mumbai to support us…thank you. It means the world to us.
But, I’m making this video not for you guys, I’m going to speak, appeal and request all of you, who did not come. To everyone, who is not a football fan…please come and watch us. Two reasons…number one: it is the best game in the world and number two, we play for our country. We will make sure that once you come watch us, you will not go the same person back home.
To all of you, who support big European clubs and support ‘your’ European club with so much passion and sometimes you feel that ‘The level is not same and why waste your time?’ Agreed. The level is not the same, not even close but with our desire and determination, we will make sure and try our best to make your time worth.
To all of you, who have lost hope and do not have any hope in Indian football, I request you to come and watch us in the stadiums. It is not fun to criticise or abuse on the internet. Come to the stadium, do it on our face, scream at us, shout at us, abuse us and who knows, one day we might change you guys. You might start cheering for us.
To all of you, who are fans but couldn’t come, didn’t come, play, work, school…please! Come and watch us in the stadiums. You guys have no idea how important you guys are and how important your support is. So, today I’m requesting all of you 4th, 7th and hopefully the 10th June, we are playing in Mumbai and please come and support us, encourage us, abuse us, criticise us, talk about the game, go back home, have discussions about the game. But, please get involved. This is a very important time and juncture in Indian football and football in India needs you guys.”