February 1, 2023

Published from Mumbai, Delhi & Bhopal

Indian football team should fight like bees do: Captain Chhetri

Doha,  India captain Sunil Chhetri says that “giving everything on the pitch” should be the motto of his team going forward.

India, who defeated Bangladesh 2-0 in the FIFA World Cup 2022 and AFC Asian Cup 2023 qualifier match here on Monday, will take on Afghanistan on June 15 in their last Group E assignment here.

“I tell the boys to just turn up and give everything on the pitch, and then you will take whatever result comes…you might not get as many moments of individual brilliance and technical play like through balls, but if we can fight like how bees fight by coming together, that’s the foundation,” said the 36-year-old striker.

“The opponent should think that we will be annoying and fighting and defending as a team; and that is the first step. Slowly, other things will come from there.”

India have six points from seven matches and are placed third in the group. They have lost three matches and three games have ended in draws. Qatar, as on Wednesday, lead Group E with 22 points from eight matches, thanks to their seven wins. Oman have 12 points from six matches and are second.

India are only fighting to qualify for the Asian Cup 2023, as they are out of contention for the 2022 World Cup.

Chhetri, who has now taken his international tally of goals to 74 in 117 matches, spoke about the virtues of playing more passes.

“We want to see more passing, as it would mean running less and more one vs one situations. The way forward is to keep the ball more and look to increase the number of passes and organised attacks,” opined the striker.

Chhetri, who made his debut against Pakistan in 2005, said he tells youngsters to focus on fitness.

“Doing the right exercises, avoiding the wrong kind of food, taking good sleep — all these are easy and that is why I demand high fitness.”

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