Sport

'We Shouldn't be Looking for Next Sunil Chhetri': Indian Football Team Captain on His Birthday and Delhi Football Day

'We Shouldn't be Looking for Next Sunil Chhetri': Indian Football Team Captain on His Birthday and Delhi Football Day

Indian football team captain Sunil Chhetri said on Monday having his birthday celebrated as Delhi Football Day was a huge honour and something like a dream.

Chhetri celebrates his birthday on August 3 and Shaji Prabhakaran-presided Football Delhi decided to celebrate the day as Delhi Football Day since the Indian football team captain came up the ranks from the state.

Chhetri said that Football Delhi has made his day special even more special.

"I am really honoured to have this day. It is like a dream. When you start playing, you never dream that your birthday will be made so special and for that I am really thankful to Football Delhi," Chhetri said in the Football Delhi e-summit.

As there were talks about finding the next Sunil Chhetri, he said there are much better players now and the focus should instead be on nurturing them.

"I don't think we should be looking for the next Sunil Chhetri but much better. If we catch players on time and give them the right training and nutrition, I am sure we can find excellent players.

"If we did what we did with me, there are a lot of even better players now and imagine what can be done with them," he stated.

The summit also saw the presence of Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju, who said that he was planning to set up a committee for talent identification from all nooks and corners of the country.

"I am planning to form a committee to scout talent and go deeper. This committee will have experts so along with the current system, this committee will go for talent identification early and may be below 12 years.

"I want this committee to look at rural areas, tribal areas, the Northeast and the Himlayas for players. There is no reason India should lag behind."

Rijiju said it was important for football to be huge in India for the country to be treated as a global sporting power.

"Without football, a country of India's size will never be considered a truly global sporting power. India has a football culture but something happened in the 80s. Football is the normal way of life in the Northeast. If Ronaldo and Messi comes to Bengal and Northeast, there will be riots, that's the level of craze. I will look to make football one of the main sporting events in the country."