‘Give Them a Chance’: Chhetri Rues Football Team’s Asiad Snub
India captain Sunil Chhetri said the football team needs to be given a chance to perform after the the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) decided not to allow the side to participate in the upcoming 2018 Asian Games.
"India is not going to win medals suddenly. You got to give them a chance to do that. In future, I just hope in future all authorities can help in that and the boys get enough opportunity, especially the U-16 team as they are really good," Chhetri told reporters.
The IOA decided against sending the football teams to the Asian Games starting 18 August in Jakarta and Palembang.
As per IOA regulations, only those national teams which are ranked between 1-8 at the continental level, were cleared for the Games.
Chhetri heaped praise on the India Under-16 team which recently stunned reigning Asian champions Iraq for the first time at the West Asian Football Federation (WAFF) Tournament.
"I am very hopeful about the U-16 team. Against Iraq, we had more ball possession. We had more attacks. (Coach) Bibiano (Fernandes) is doing a great job and the U-16 team has potential to do great things in future. We have to preserve them," the Indian captain expressed.
On the India U-20 side upsetting Argentina in the COTIF Cup, Chhetri said: "The U-20 team, I saw a few clippings and we had to defend a lot against Argentina. And that was one game. I haven't seen them much but it's a great result to beat Argentina."
Chhetri may not take part in the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championships starting next month, the ace forward said adding coach Stephen Constantine wants the younger crop to get a chance.
"I am not trying to demean the other teams in the SAFF region. It's a great opportunity for the youngsters to come to the table and show the coach that they also have potential," Chhetri said adding: "I think even with the U-23 team, we are very strong in the SAFF region. I hope they do well and we retain the championship."
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