The first match of the Hero Intercontinental Cup saw team India come out with a mammoth 5-0 win over Chinese Taipei with the skipper Sunil Chhetri bagging 3 goals. While the Blue Tigers thumped their supremacy on the pitch, scenes from the stands were not amusing.
The game saw a turnout of just about 2.5k on a Friday night in a stadium that can fill upto 20 thousand spectators. The only noise in the stadium came from a section where the fan group Blue Pilgrims were trying their best to make the atmosphere inspiring for the team. Disappointed with the turnout, the Indian skipper, Sunil Chhetri has shared a video message to fans, where he is urging them to come support the Blue Tigers.
Sunil Chhetri, who has capped 99 appearances for the national team is seen thanking and appreciating the fans who did turn up at the Mumbai Football Arena on Friday where he scored a hat-trick in the 5-0 win over Chinese Taipei. The skipper then urged others to come out and support the team in the stadium.
Acknowledging the gap in quality between European football, more commonly followed by Indians, and the Indian team, Chhetri politely requests fans to vent out their anger and frustration on the national team in their face in the stadium, instead of raging on the Internet as many do. “We’ll do our best not to waste your time,” promises Chhetri, who’d be playing his 100th international match against Kenya on the 4th of June.
Chhetri’s message is a grim reflection of what the state of Indian football is and as much as the players, coaches, administration are responsible, the fans too have a part to play. Millions of us idolize European footballers, stay up all nights to catch the matches of our favourite teams but when it comes to the national team, do we care? Chhetri’s message has been embedded below, do share if you feel he won’t need to be doing it again. For full schedule and tickets of the Intercontinental Cup visit: Intercontinental Cup: Schedule and Tickets
India play Kenya next on June 4 at the Mumbai Football Arena, Andheri.