The Blue Tigers, as the Indian football team is also known recently won against Chinese Taipei, beating them 5-0, with captain Sunil Chhetri scoring a hat-trick. It was the opening match of the Intercontinental Cup, and it was watched by only 2,569 people. In a passionate plea on Twitter, Chhetri called out to all Indians.
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
"Please come and support us, encourage us, watch us, abuse us, criticise us. Football in India needs you," said Chhetri, requesting that those who do not have any hope in Indian football come and watch them at the stadium. "It's not fun to criticise and abuse on internet. Come to the stadium, scream at us, shout at us," he said.
A part of his message was also targeted at Indians who are fans of European clubs. "Sometimes you guys think the level is not the same so why waste your time?" said Chhetri. "I agree 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 it."
Chhetri is currently the third highest goal scorer in international football with 59 goals to his name. He is tied with Spain forward David Villa. He is behind only to Lionel Messi (64) and Cristiano Ronaldo (81).
In India, cricket is the most popular sport though a survey showed that 41 percent people follow football. Chhetri was backed by India cricket captain Virat Kohli, who posted his own message. India is currently being coached by former Millwall boss Stephen Constantine and will play Kenya on June 4. The June 4 match will also be Chhetri’s 100th international cap.