Football in India is still an emerging sport. Many things are responsible for this. Firstly, the people who give their 1000% when it comes to supporting cricket, while the stadiums of other sports are mostly empty even on a big match day.
Secondly, the lack of opportunities given to people of other sports. You would know how deep a problem is this if you compare the benefits a cricket player gets to what players of other sports get.
And lastly, because even football fans willingly support European clubs but don’t pay a lot of attention to the national team. But thanks to Sunil Chhetri’s plea to Mumbaikars, the future of football in India seems bright.
If you don’t know the background of this, watch the video below. After the match between India and Chinese Taipei, where Chhetri scored a hat-trick, with one goal each from Pronay Halder and Udanta Singh, settling the score at 5-0, the turn up by the crowd was disappointing.
The Intercontinental Cup, 2018 has only 2,569 attendees, which is indeed too less a number for a match of an International level. Sunil Chhetri took to his social media to urge Mumbaikars for attending their matches.
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
Virat Kohli, captain of the Indian Cricket Team urged fans to attend the match in Mumbai that would next be held in Mumbai Football Arena against Kenya on 5th June, on 7th June against New Zealand, and hopefully on 10th June which would happen is India reached the Final.
All social media platform were flooded with people sharing Chhetri’s video, urging friends in Mumbai to attend the match. And, it worked. It’s better late than never.
Tickets were sold out for the match between India and Kenya by Sunday, 4th June. The pitch was set, the fans at the stadiums, chanting India and encouraging the boys on the field. About 9,000 people attended the match and it was a sight for sore eyes.
Team India scored 3 goals against no goals by Kenya, with Chhetri scoring two goals and one goal scored by Jeje Lalpekhlua. Team India was inspired by this huge support by people at the stadium and at home, watching football at its finest.
Sunil Chhetri thanked everyone on his Twitter who came to watch the match and also to those who showed their support from their homes. He tweeted this to show how grateful he was and how this is the kind of support the team needs.
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
Let’s just take this seriously and treat all sports and players equally. It shouldn’t take a plea for us to go and support national level players. If we can support European clubs, we can support our own country too. The future of Indian football is bright and we need to do our best to make sure it happens.