Over 9,000 spectators turned up at the Mumbai Football Arena to witness Indian football captain Sunil Chhetri’s 100th international game against Kenya on June 4. Indian skipper scored twice as Indian team beat Kenya 3-0 and advanced to the final of the Intercontinental Cup.
Indian spectators turned up in large numbers on a rainy day to show their support for Chhetri after he posted an emotional message on social media to urge countrymen to come to the stadium. Chettri on June 2, posted a video on his official Twitter handle after the match against Chinese Taipei which witnessed fewer than 2,000 fans on the stands. He urged Indians to come to the stadium and watch the Indian team play.
“To all of you who have lost hope or do not have any hope in Indian football, I request you to come and watch us in the stadium. It is not fun to criticise and abuse on the internet. Come to the stadium. Do it on our face. Scream at us, shout at us and abuse us. Who knows, one day we might change you guys.”
This is nothing but a small plea from me to you. Take out a little time and give me a listen. pic.twitter.com/fcOA3qPH8i
— Sunil Chhetri (@chetrisunil11) June 2, 2018
Chettri’s 2 minutes, 20 seconds video spread like wildfire as several known names like Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli, former Indian captain Sachin Tendulkar and India’s tennis ace Sania Mirza came out in support of the Indian football skipper.
Moved by Chettri’s appeal, YouTuber Nikunj Lotia (Beyounick) made a beautiful gesture as he booked an entire stand, making it easy for football fanatics to watch history in making.
hoping that FOOTBALL REVOLUTION just started in INDIA …..SUNIL CHETTRI is the man who started it ….EVERY SCENE IN THE FOOTBALL STADIUM IN MUM BAI IS JUST WOWWWWW…#IndianFootball #IndianFootballTeam ..#LetsDoThis pic.twitter.com/o0i5Vbewbt
— Srinadh Bvvs (@BvvsSrinadh) June 4, 2018
Meanwhile, during the game, Chhetri entered his name in the record books as he surpassed David David Villa, the highest goal-scorer for Spain.
In terms of international goals, India’s Chettri (61 goals) is only behind Portugal’s Christiano Ronaldo (81 goals) and Argentina’s Lionel Messi (64 goals).
The unsung hero of Indian Sports.@chetrisunil11
C.RONALDO __ 81 GOALS
L.MESSI __ 64 GOALS
SUNIL CHETTRI__ 61 GOALS
— prashant gupta (@gforgupta) June 4, 2018
The highlight of the game was Chhetri’s chipped kick into the goal in the 91st minute.
Check out “Chhetri Scores with a Gorgeous Chip” on Hotstar!https://t.co/E0S4OMd4NE
— K Shreyas Aatman (@Shreyas_Aatman) June 4, 2018
After the game, Chhetri posted a message to the fans for turning up in large numbers. He tweeted:
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!
— Sunil Chhetri (@chetrisunil11) June 4, 2018
India and Kenya will now face each other in the summit clash on Sunday.