Indian football team is not yet in top teams.
FOOTBALL: Chhetri, has provided confidence and direction to the Blue Tigers.
It started with the tri-nation triumph in Manipur, then came the Intercontinental Cup victory in Bhubaneswar, and finally the SAFF Championship title in Bengaluru. It has indeed been a stellar show by the Indian football team in recent times. With the King's Cup, Merdeka Cup and the Asian Cup rapidly approaching, Blue Tigers captain Sunil Chhetri said it "was just the start", and there was a long way to go before the team establishes itself as a dominant force in Asian football. The Indian skipper said the first target was to break into the top-10 in Asia, a difficult task.
" Technically and tactically we are not there yet with the top teams in Asia, and we have no qualms in accepting that. But we will be strong and fight it out, that's non-negotiable", said Chhetri. In nine matches during the two campaigns- Intercontinental Cup and SAFF Championship- the Indians conceded just two goals and kept eight successive clean sheets. However, Chhetri felt that the team has to improve a lot in offence. "Wholeheartedly, I want all the areas to improve. But I think one concern was that we had quite a few chances but our conversion rate was poor compared to defending, attacking corners, defensive corners and time management".
With two big tournaments in National colours apart from club football, Chhetri has a lot on his plate before the all-important Asian Cup next year. And at the age of 38,time and game management is something most players would consider seriously. "I do not like to miss games", said the country's top goal-scorer, 92 strikes when asked about picking and choosing matches. " But if people who are more knowledgeable than me- head coach, physios and doctors-think I need to rest, I might listen to them. But I do not like to hear things like you should rest this one and that one. But the decision is not mine alone", said Chhetri.
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