Indian football team’s striker Lallianzuala Chhangte has ascertained how captain Sunil Chhetri’s words helped him to reduce the pressure on the climacteric day of his career. Chhangte debut match was against Nepal in the SAFF Suzuki Championship where he scored a brace for the senior national team.
All India Football Federation’s website quoted Chhangte as saying, “I was a bit nervous playing alongside the legends, Sunil Bhai. He’s the best who I have played until now. I was just a kid at that time. He probably realised and call me when I replaced Sanju Bhai at halftime. He kept his hand on my shoulder and that took the pressure off me.”
“His word is still ringing in my ears whenever I hit the football ground. He said, “When you are in our half, realise the ball fast and try to maintain the shape. But, when you are in the attacking third, never be afraid to take risks. You have the potential. Just to be yourself and play your natural game, ” he added.
After his sanctifying debut and to earn his first start for the Blue Tigers at Dhaka, Bangladesh to participate in the SAFF Suzuki Championship, he waited for more than two years.
Chhangte said “I remember it was against Sri Lanka in Dhaka. Singing the national anthem alongside my teammates gave me goosebumps, it still does. Honestly, I could not wait for the referee to blow the kick-off whistle.”
On September 5, 2018, he confirms India’s 2-0 victory over the neighbours, which makes India at the top of group B over the Maldives and Sri Lanka.
Under the support of Igor Stimac, he retains to improve and he scored another Sunil Chhetri in the Hero Intercontinental Cup 2019 in Ahmedabad, Gujarat on July 13.
The Chhangte speculates that it gets tougher to get a place in the national team over time as players often look to improve themselves.
“It’s a (competition) a steep one and honestly, it’s getting tougher every day. But this is good, as it pushes and motivates me to become a better player. I shall continue working harder, ” Chhangte concluded.