Sunil Chhetri’s clarion call to football fans to head to the Mumbai Football Arena to watch India play in the Intercontinental Cup seems to have worked wonders. With hours to go before India face Kenya in their second match of the friendly tournament, the stadium has been sold out. There were quite a few empty pockets during India’s first match – a 5-0 thrashing of Chinese Taipei. But unlike them, the Kenyans may have to deal with a full house.
The match also marks Chhetri’s 100th appearance for India. After their match against Chinese Taipei, Chhetri put out a heartfelt message to “all those that didn’t come” to watch the match.
“All those from across the country who came to Mumbai to support us – amazing. All the fans from Mumbai who came and watched us, thank you so much for the encouragement. It means the world to us,” said the Indian captain. “But today I am not making a video for you guys. I am gonna speak and appeal to all of you who did not come. To everyone who is not a football fan, please come and watch us for two reasons. No. 1 – it’s the best game in the world and No. 2 – we play for our country. We will make sure that once you come to watch us, you will not return the same person back home.”
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) 2 June 2018
Chhetri went on to admit that the level of football that may be on offer in Mumbai is “not even close” to what might be seen in big matches from the European leagues.
“But with our desire and determination, we will try our best to make it worth your time,” he said.