Seeing the palpable bonhomie between two ace sportsmen of India, it seems that the Indian sports arena is changing for the better. Recently Indian football team captain Sunil Chhetri through social media appealed to the Indian populace to watch and support Indian football, which was quickly backed by Indian cricket skipper Virat Kohli, who also urged fans to take notice of his ‘good friend’ and ‘the game of football’.
Earlier, in an emotional post the champion footballer, who lead India to a massive 5-0 win over Chinese Taipei by scoring a hat-trick had appealed, “This is a very important time and juncture in Indian football and football in India needs you guys. So here I am, requesting you to come and support us, in Mumbai and wherever we play, Jai Hind!”
The 33-year-old footballer also opined that though Indian football is not as good as some of the European clubs, it has the potential. He said: “To all of you who are fans of big European clubs and support European clubs with so much passion and sometimes you guys think that the level is not the same, so why do you waste your time? Agreed, the level is not the same, not even close, but with our desire and determination, we will try our best to make your time worth.”
Chhetri, however, was not only talking about accepting where Indian football stand, but also spoke of what they want from the fans. “To all of you, who have lost hope or don’t have any hope in Indian football, we request you to come and watch us in the stadium,” the skipper opined.
With around two weeks for the World Cup football tournament to begin, broadcasters are leaving no stone unturned in wooing fans of the ‘beautiful game’ to acknowledge their love for their ‘doosri country’, and India’s all-time highest goal-getter’s plea– seeking some love from the Indians for their ‘first country’ does not seem misplaced.
Asking fans to not limit their criticism to social media, Chhetri further added, “I mean 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, and abuse us. Who knows, one day it might change you guys or you might start a chain for us.” The ace footballer also had a request for all the arm-chair critics of Indian football, he said that the fans are free to abuse them, but make the ‘Blue Tigers’ feel relevant.
Not one to be left behind, Virat Kholi responding to this appeal and urged the fans to shower love to Indian football. Taking to his social media handle Instagram, Kohli asked the fans who love the sport to come and support the national football side because they deserve all the support they need.
India faces Kenya on 4th June, and inviting the fans to be a part of the game Chhetri pledged, “I request you all to please come …Talk about the game, go back home, have discussions, make banners. Please get involved.”