To begin with, let me congratulate Sunil Chhetri on winning the Intercontinental cup by beating Kenya with a comfortable margin. As Chhetri equals Messi as the joint second highest goal scorer in International football this year, it is a proud moment for all Indians. But today my dad questioned, how many of these goals did Chhetri score against the top teams? A very valid question to which I answered that an international goal is a goal, doesn’t matter against whom it comes!
I am a Manchester United supporter. A club over a hundred and fourty years old. A club which boasts of championship titles, European titles. A club with a history and probably the world’s largest fanbase. But, did all this happen overnight? No. This is only an example… Take Liverpool, Real Madrid, Barcelona, these clubs too were at sometime in history nowhere but today they are the giants of their respective leagues.
The point to note is that there’s always a beginning.
Indian Football team has neither got the history nor the quality of football that can make a difference. Our FIFA ranking is 97. We are 97th in Football out of a total 211 countries. Chhetri himself admits the team is nowhere close to the quality of football played by the European clubs. Below is the link to the video he shared!
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
But Chhetri has a very valid point. He wants us to join them in their journey, he wants us to come and see them play, abuse them, criticize them. He wants our attention and he is so right to demand it.
The European clubs are powerhouses, the media gives them ample of coverage.The matches telecast on online platforms with their paid subscription model. The team’s jerseys sell like hotcakes… But the only coverage our National Team gets is that India slipped a few positions down in the FIFA ranking. There are neither big sponsors associated with the team, nor do they have a cash rich Football board. All this because football, in our country, doesn’t have the visibility which it so badly needs… Can you tell the name of four players from our national Football Team? Oh wait, if you are thinking of Bhaichung Bhutia, then think twice. He retired a few years ago.
Sunil Chhetri so gracefully requested us to come to the stadium, criticise them on their face instead of venting out the frustation on Twitter. He mentions two very correct reaons. First, football being the best sport and second, that they play for the country. This shows the team’s maturity, they are ready to take up the pressure, they are ready to struggle but are we ready to go in the stands and watch a 90 minute game of football with passion..?
They want the attention because it is necessary for improvement. Higher the viewership, better are the revenues, and greater the revenue quicker will be the progress of Indian Football… But responsibilities rest on Chhetri’s shoulders. He has to remember that people will come with a certain expectation and a lot will be required to keep them all hooked. In all senses this video appeal will touch many and make us realise to give equal respect to all the sports.
Sachin and Kohli, also re-emphasized Chhetri’s message and it will certainly give the message more visibility, but why not take the initiative and be there in the stands to cheer the team? It’s time that influential people like celebrities and cricketers also go to the stands and show their support instead of only dropping a video on Twitter!!
I’m leaving below the link to our football team’s Wikipedia page, we do have an exciting history let’s try and catch up on it.
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