Sunil Chhetri is the joint second-highest active goal-scorer in international football, alongside, arguably the greatest footballer of all time, Lionel Messi. But what makes Sunil an underrated player and the other, the greatest? Sunil has been the flagbearer of Indian football team since Baichung Bhutia retired and has been scoring goals regularly. He even won India the recently-concluded Intercontinental Cup single-handedly.
On the night of the finals, versus Kenya, the Indian captain scored a brace, and took his tally of international goals to 64 in 101 games. That’s right behind Ronaldo’s 81 in 124 games. And we’re sure that the Indian forward can overtake that mark too. But despite all the achievements, he is not getting the deserved recognition, forget about the accolades.
Imagine Team India playing the Asia Cup in India and captain Virat Kohli pleading the fans to come to the stadium! You can’t, right? Chhetri had to do it and yes, we Indians did throng the stadium and supported the team, but does it really have to come to this? Does every sportsperson in India need to plead to the so-called fans of the game to watch their match?
Well, it’s just that we don’t know how to celebrate our superstars! It’s just cricket that takes all our time and it’s only when Indians do well on international stages that we recognise them. There are a lot of names in that list. And there is no point reminding them to you. Do you even remember where Karnam Maleshwari is? Or where Paralympian HN Girisha is? We need to make more idols in the country than just the cricket heroes! A stadium full of screaming fans is what we need every time an Indian player steps out on the field. And in Chhetri’s words, abuse them, hate them, but go watch them play!