Sport

India match sells out after emotional plea by captain

India match sells out after emotional plea by captain

Sunil Chhetri, who would be making his 100th global appearance for India, had posted an emotional video on Twitter on Saturday, pleading fans to "abuse us, criticize us but please come to watch the Indian national team play".

At last count, it has garnered 58.2K retweets and 123K likes on Twitter. With likes of Virat Kohli, Sachin Tendulkar and every other celebrities and ministers coming out in support of Chhetri's message, India's second game of the Intercontinental Cup against Kenya was was a sold out affair.

Chhetri's plea, which went viral on social media for all the right reasons, has done the trick as the tickets for India's second match of the quadrennial tournament against Kenya, scheduled for Monday, June 4, have been sold out.

The cheering crowd at the Mumbai Football Arena was a turnaround from the mere 2,569 who turned out to watch India thrash Taiwan 5-0 last week.

The two goals against Kenya put Chhetri in exalted footballing company - he is the third highest active goal scorer in worldwide football.

Chhetri added one more in the injury time to seal India's victory. No. 1 - it's the best game in the world and No. 2 - we play for our country.




Things are looking up on the pitch, however, as India will play at the expanded 2019 Asian Cup finals in the United Arab Emirates after missing out in Australia three years ago. It has since rebounded and the country is now ranked 97. He had literally requested the fans to flock the stadiums and make the hardworking players feel wanted.

Growing up, Chhetri told Shekhar Gupta in this Walk The Talk interview (see below), football was in his blood.

While Chhetri said that the level of game on offer at the Mumbai stadium might not be in the same level - "not even close" - with European leagues, it must be mentioned that the Indian men's football team has had a turn in their fortunes of late and now rank 97th. His mother and her twin sister played football for Nepal. "They pour their heart out for us, least we can do is be there!"

"It was the year Baichung bhai came back from Bury (then English third division side). I told everyone about it", he told Shekhar Gupta.

The recently-garnered hype for the match soared heights so much so that popular YouTuber Nikunj Lotia announced on Twitter that he had bought an entire stand and requested fellow football fans to contact him for tickets.

The 33-year-old converted past Patrick Matasi.


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