Mumbai responds to Sunil Chhetri’s heartfelt appeal as India thrash Kenya 3-0, Indian captain vows to give his life for country


Sunil Chhetri’s heartful appeal to “all those that didn’t come” to watch Indian football team play seems to have worked wonders. With hours to go before India face Kenya in their second match of the Intercontinental Cup, the stadium was sold out. India beat Kenya with Chhetri scoring twice for his team.

photo: AIFF

There were quite a few empty pockets during India’s first match – a 5-0 thrashing of Chinese Taipei. But unlike them, the Kenyans may have to deal with a full house.

The match also marked Chhetri’s 100th appearance for India. After their match against Chinese Taipei, Chhetri put out a heartfelt message.

After the match, Chhetri took to Twitter to thank fans saying that the players will give their ‘lives’ for the country if they received similar support in future. He wrote, “We promise you that if that’s the kind of support we get every time we play for the country, we will give our lives on the pitch. India, this night was special because we were in this together. Those in the stands shouting, and the ones at home cheering – thank you!”

The Indian football team captain, in a heartful video said, “All the fans in Mumbai who came and watched us, thank you so much for all encouragement. It means the world to us. But today, I’m making this video not for you guys. I’m gonna speak, appeal and request all of you who did not come. To everyone who is not a football fan, please come and watch us. Two reasons: Number 1, it’s the best game in the World. And number 2, we play for our country. We’ll make sure that once you come to watch us, you’ll not go the same person back home.”

“To all of you who are fans of big European clubs and support European clubs with so much passion and sometimes you guys think that the level is not the same, so why do you waste your time? Agreed, the level is not the same, not even close but with our desire and determination, we will make sure, we will try our best to make your time worth. To all of you, who have lost hope or don’t have any hope in Indian football, we request you to come and watch us at the stadiums. I mean it’s not fun to criticise and abuse on the Internet. Come to the stadium, do it on our face, scream at us, shout at us, abuse us, who knows one day we might change you guys, you might start cheering for us. Please come.”

“To all of you who are fans, but could not come, did not come, delay, work, school; Please come and watch in the stadiums. Come and watch us in the stadiums. You guys have no idea how important you guys are and how important your support is. So today I’m requesting you, all of you, 4th, 7th and hopefully 10th June, we’re playing in Mumbai. Please come and support us, encourage us, watch us, abuse us, criticize us, talk about the game, go back home, have discussions, make banners. But, please get involved, this is an important time and juncture in Indian football and football in India needs you guys. So here, I’m requesting you. Please come and watch us in the stadium. Now in Mumbai and whenever we play, wherever we play, if you are the same city, come to the stadiums and watch us. Please. Jai Hind.”

Chhetri’s video went viral with Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli and Sachin Tendulkar being among those who retweeted him or posted their own videos in support.