Happy Birthday Captain: Sunil Chhetri, Indian sports’ unsung hero turns 33

first_imgIndian football’s milestone man — Sunil Chhetri, who was born on August 3, 1984, turns 33 today. The Indian captain, who has been one of the most successful yet silent performer for his country over the years was born in Secunderabad.Chhetri has always played the game with passion and dedication and till date he’s the most successful footballer the nation has seen. One might argue that the honour belongs to Bhaichung Bhutia but if you see the former’s achievements, you have to stop and applaud the little guy.INDIA’s GREATEST EVERThe forward has scored 54 goals from 94 national appearances. He’s fourth in the list of leading international goal scorers who are still active in football. He’s 28th in the all-time list and one might not believe but he is ahead of former England and Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney, who has 53 goals from 119 appearances for his country.He was picked up by the Kansas City Wizards in the Major League Soccer (MLS) but failed to make a single appearance in the American league. He also made three appearances for Sporting Lisbon’s B side  in 2012-13 before finally returning to India. He played for Churchill Brothers for two years after joining them from Bengaluru FC on a loan.In 2015, he returned to his parent club and his stock has only risen ever since. Under his captaincy, Bengaluru FC reached the AFC Cup final, where they lost to Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya. But, that was the first time any Indian club reached the final of the tournament.advertisementBengaluru FC Twitter PhotoHis name is synonymous with Indian football and there’s no denying the fact that he is Indian football’s poster boy. But, does he get the credit that he deserves for doing his work so consistently?If you compare it with other sports persons and sports…certainly not.CAPTAIN. LEADER. LEGEND.Under Chhetri’s leadership and handwork the Indian team has come a long way. Now they are ranked 96th, just two short of the country’s highest-ever ranking of 94, that it achieved in 1996. He’s the second in the list of most capped Indian players with 94 games under his name. He’s second to Bhutia, who has 104. But, he remains half as celebrated as his counterparts in cricket — be it Virat Kohli or women’s cricket team captain Mithali Raj.Footballers, no matter how famous he is, can never be as big in a country where fans worship their cricketing heroes. But, during the times of Indian Super League (ISL) and considering India’s efforts to make a name for itself again in the ‘Beautiful Game’, Chhetri’s importance as much as a certain Kohli or a PV Sindhu, whose silver in the Rio Olympics last year brought about a huge boom in the badminton circuit.The 33-year-old’s dedication towards the game is unparalleled but his grounded nature one might say can be the reason behind him not being as celebrated as his peers in other sports. He has been an ambassador of the game in India for more than a decade and is going to leave with a legacy that is going to be really hard for anyone to even reach in India. As he reaches the twilight of his career, the void he is going to leave will be really hard to fill.India has an exciting Jeje Lalpekhlua up front or a flamboyant and fast winger in CK Vineeth but the country will miss the calm and prolific Chhetri once he retires from the game. So, while there is time, people should really move on from just admiration and celebrate India’s greatest-ever football captain.#HappyBirthday to a man who never gives up and never backs down. Bhai, thank you for everything you have been to Indian Football! #Leader pic.twitter.com/q9EWV07xaW- CK Vineeth (@ckvineeth) August 3, 2017Happy Birthday to the National Team Captain, the 4th highest goalscorer in active International Football at the moment.#BackTheBlue pic.twitter.com/X5c047la1H- Indian Football Team (@IndianFootball) August 3, 2017last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *