Sunil Chhetri's heartfelt message for fans after India's Intercontinental Cup triumph

Rex Christensen
June 12, 2018

India had blanked Kenya 3-0 in the league game at the Mumbai Football Arena, which was skipper Chhetri's 100th appearance in national colours.

With India having already sealed their spot in Sunday's final through comfortable wins in their opening two games, Constantine seized the moment to drastically shuffle his troops.

After conceding the goal, Kenya regrouped and started to counter-attack. "Hope we could get more games and prepare for 2019 Asia Cup". In the second clash against Kenya, which was his 100th global game, Chettri, the showman put another fine display scoring a brace as India downed their final opponents 3-0. Only nine players eligible for that team have been called up by him for the senior team so far, so you can be sure his pool of players will grow some more before it shrinks. "You're not going to have 11 Sandesh's or 11 Chhetri's or 11 Thapa's (referring to Sandesh Jhingan, Sunil Chhetri and Anirudh Thapa)". We're close for a game with Saudi in November, it's not fully confirmed however. "Today some players didn't take this opportunity to put themselves in the spotlight".

"It was time for others to come in and stake a claim for their place". To say the All Whites coach did not bring a full strength squad to Mumbai would be something of an understatement. The prolific striker found the net in the 8th and the 29th minute of the match to end his fairytale display in the tournament in style. "I'm happy that the Olympic committee for allowing us for the Asian Cup", said Constantine at the post-match press conference.

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India beat Taiwan (5-0) and then Kenya (3-0) before losing to New Zealand (1-2) in the league phase. This itself will send a wave of football resonants across the country.

The 33-year-old Chhetri's double strike capped a brilliant tournament which saw him score eight out of India's 11 goals and put him on par with Argentine superstar Messi with 64 strikes for the country to be the joint second highest worldwide goal scorer among active players.

India are grouped with Bahrain, Thailand and United Arab Emirates in the tournament to be held next year.

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