New Delhi: India's U-17 football team is gearing up for their opening FIFA World Cup match against USA on October 6.
The youngsters got a huge vote of confidence from national skipper Sunil Chhetri who advised them to give off their best in the face of huge expectations at the Bengaluru FC stadium on Thursday.
On his return from Macau, Chhetri presented the India U-17 players with the jersey by Nike, before telling them not to be scared to face the big tournament.
Chhetri, who helped India defeat Macau in AFC Asian Cup qualifiers last week to stand at the top of the table, told the team that this is the biggest moment for Indian football and that he would return his 15 years of glorious career to live the moment. "This team is much better than we were and I am not just saying it for the sake of it. The level in which you guys are playing right now is amazing. I was coming from my house to here and thinking what should I tell you guys but all I want to say is 'enjoy it'," said Chhetri.
"This tournament is going to be one of the most important days of your lives, I guarantee you that. Make sure you make everything perfect- every minute, every shot, every tackle, ever stride. Listen to your coaches, get your massages, eat and sleep at the right time. So that when the World Cup finishes, you are not left feeling 'Shit, I should have slept that day' or 'shit, I should have gone for that shot,'" added the Indian skipper.
This is going to be the first time that a Indian team will participate in a FIFA World Cup. Chhetri urged the youngsters to live the moment and give their best.
"We would all love to be at your place. I would give 15 years of my career to play in the World Cup, where you are playing. This is brilliant. So make the most of it. Don’t take pressure but listen and go and give your best and the whole country will applaud," the 33-year old Indian captain told the young players, who hung on to his every word.
Motivating the young players for what awaits, Chhetri added, "Just don’t be scared. Don’t think about things like which country is coming to play, what is the crowd going to think. Just give your best. You’re playing for the nation, for your country. So give your best to your country. If you play like that, you will sleep better thinking you gave your all."
"Scoreline is not in your hands. What is in your hands is that you go and give your best."