Chhetri to talk about his future with Sporting Lisbon
Mumbai: His confidence left shaken after getting just five games with the reserves for Sporting Lisbon, Indian football captain Sunil Chhetri has now taken a more pragmatic approach and would hold talks with the Portuguese club about his future before embarking on a second stint.
"I am not used to sitting out. All my life, I have been playing for club and country regularly all 90 minutes. It plays on my mind, even though you are fitter but if you are not playing a match, mentally you are destroyed," said Chhetri, whose two-year contract with Sporting Lisbon runs up to June 2014.
"After six months, I had just played five games for Lisbon`s B team, which was not good for my confidence. I was training well in one of the top most academies of the world but not playing matches was haunting me. It was not good for my confidence. I am going back, talk to them and know exactly what is there in store for me. I am 28 not 19 anymore to be sensible in what club I want to choose," he said.
Chhetri, while admitting football is treated differently in Portugal, said not getting much of a chance to showcase his skills made him frustrated.
"I was in the `B` team and what happened is even if you are almost there to play, there are four guys who are from `A` team fighting their recovery and they start. It became difficult for me. Even though I knew I am going to start, suddenly there were four guys who have to play.
"That`s the way it works in Europe where there is a `B` team to make sure that `A` team players who are fighting a recovery can come back. Even though you are training at the best facility in the world, not getting a match on Saturday really kills you," Chhetri told reporters here.
Churchill Brothers, who won their second I-league title early this month, had signed forward Chettri on loan from Sporting Lisbon for four months to play the remaining of the matches in the I-league and the AFC Club Cup.
Chhetri said it was an "impulsive" decision to join the Goan club.
"When I was here in February, it was an impulsive decision. I thought I took the right decision (to play for Churchill Brothers). Initially, when I started playing the matches here, I didn`t know what was happening. Even though I was fitter than what I was before, I didn`t know what to do in the game. That is what it does to a player.
"I came back for three months and played some 14-15 matches for Churchill Brothers. We won the league. Now, I am going back to Portugal to see, talk about the terms and conditions and take it forward from there," he added.
Chettri said India has the requisite talent to produce exciting players but lacks nourishment.
"We have over one billion people in India. We don`t have a shortage of talent it is only the right nourishment that we need. It will happen slowly. In India, people want results quickly. It is not going to happen in one day. It is not magic. Slowly we are going to get there," he said.
Chettri also said the addition of four new clubs to I-League would help the youngsters to show their talent.
"It`s very good. When it is eventually 20 (teams), it is a long league. The prime tournament the I-League and then the Federation Cup, these are the two big tournaments. The more the clubs, the more the talents are going to get a platform to perform. I just hope and wish it happens in an organised professional way," he said.
On the All India Football Federation`s proposed franchise-based tournament in January next year, Chettri said he wasn`t aware of the details but said it should be designed in a manner that players get adequate rest.
"We have to have a calendar where all the players know exactly how much they are going to play. It has to be on the same standard that European clubs also play. It`s not feasible to play seven eight tournaments. If you want players to perform well in the national team they have to play adequate matches and get enough rest as well.
"I am sure entity like IMG-Reliance and AIFF will work on it and I am sure they will come up with something good," he said.
He further said that if India bag the hosting rights for under-17 World Cup, then it would provide much-needed fillip to the sport in the country.
"Getting the World Cup is going to be a huge thing and I am optimistic about that. Think about the kids who are going to play in 2017 under-17 World Cup. Once we get it, we have four years. We get a plan to get those kids in four different parts, make five teams, train them and pick a team from that.
"Once you get to host the World Cup, its a huge thing. We dreamt about playing a World Cup which is probably never going to happen but for these kids, it`s going to be massive," he said.
Chettri exuded confidence of improving their current world ranking of 150.
"I don`t think the rankings we have is the actual rankings. We play regular international friendlies. We are not 150 or whatever we are right now. We are little more better than this. It is very important that we keep playing national friendlies. We are going to improve our rankings," he said.