INTERNATIONAL FOOTBALL: Chhetri allowed to join Indian national team


INTERNATIONAL FOOTBALL: Chhetri allowed to join Indian national team – a win-win situation for all ?!!

Sunil Chhetri in action - there is no place like home, and home is where the heart is ?!!

The Kansas City Star
By Pete Grathoff

Fri, Jul. 30, 2010 11:46 AM: The Wizards shook up their roster on Friday, parting ways with two players (one on a temporary basis) and officially adding another to the roster.

Forward Sunil Chhetri has been permitted to join the Indian national team through the 2011 Asian Cup. “I’m excited to be joining the National Team,” Chhetri said in a release, “but I’ll miss Kansas City. Everything was falling into place here, including the big win we just had against Manchester United.”

Chhetri, 25. came on as a second-half sub against Manchester United on Sunday, just his second appearance for the Wizards. He also played in a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup game earlier in the year. The Wizards signed Chhetri from Dempo SC in March, making him the first Indian to join an MLS team and creating considerable media attention around his move abroad.

“This will allow Sunil to play full-time on a regular basis,” the Wizards said in a release. “This will be not only good for him, but good for us in the future, and we always want to help our players develop as much as we possibly can.

We look forward to Sunil coming back to Kansas City. “Chhetri was one of 30 players recently selected by India head coach Bob Houghton for the team’s ongoing preparations for the 2011 Asian Cup next January. Chhetri has appeared 35 times for India, scoring 16 goals in his international career.

Wizards, Hirsig part ways

•The Wizards and midfielder Santiago Hirsig also reached a mutual agreement to part ways. Hirsig, who is from Argentina, was signed by the Wizards prior to the 2009 season and appeared in 26 games last year, but had appeared just once in MLS play this season, in a 2-1 road loss at D.C. United on May 5.

Hirsig scored the lone league goal of his Kansas City stay on September 19, 2009 in a 3-2 victory over FC Dallas. He also added one assist.

•Greek defender Nick Kounenakis received his International Transfer Certificate and P-1 Visa and will be added to the Wizards roster immediately. Kounenakis is available for selection for Saturday’s match versus Toronto FC.

Sunil Chhetri To Join Indian Team In Portugal – no place like home, plus home is where the heart is ?!!

Sunil Chhetri - set to perform his magic once again, this time for the glory of India ?!!

From India Server

July 31, 2010, T16:58:05+05:30: American soccer club Kansas City Wizards has allowed Indian forward Sunil Chhetri to join the national team that is practising in Portugal for the 2011 Asian Cup.

“I’m excited to be joining the national team. But I’ll miss Kansas City. Everything was falling into place here, including the big win we just had against Manchester United,” Chhetri said in a statement.

Chhetri will arrive in India on Monday and will join the team in Portugal, on Wednesday. Kansas City signed Chhetri from Dempo in March, making him the first Indian to join a Major League Soccer (MLS) team.

His most recent appearance for the Wizards came in Sunday’s 2-1 upset of Manchester United, coming on in the 69th minute and recording two shots at the goal in his 21 minutes of action. ( maybe held back so as not to overtly embarrass MU ?!!)

Chhetri scored in his debut as a substitute in an exhibition against the University of Tulsa and followed that performance with a hat-trick in his next outing against the University of Evansville.

He made his first team debut in a Lamar Hunt US Open Cup play-in match April 13 that Wizards lost 1-2 to the Colorado Rapids.

Wizards Manager Peter Vermes said: “This will allow Sunil to play full-time on a regular basis. This will not only be good for him, but good for us in the future, and we always want to help our players develop as much as we possibly can. We look forward to Sunil coming back to Kansas City.”

The 25-year-old was one of 30 players recently selected by India head coach Bob Houghton for the team’s ongoing preparations for the 2011 Asian Cup next January.

Indian National Team: Deepak Mandal & Sunil Chhetri To Get Arjuna Award – Honourable recognition for the duo… due time ?!!

Deepak Mandal & Sunil Chhetri for Arjuna Awards - keeping sights set for bringing India into world cup glory ?!!

By Rahul Bali & Amoy Ghoshal

31-Jul-2010 2:33:00 AM: Indian internationals Deepak Mandal and Sunil Chhetri have been named among 15 sportspersons for this year’s Arjuna Award (A Government of India award to recognize outstanding achievement in sports.)

For the first time since 2002 when I.M. Vijayan received the honour, an Indian footballer is going to get this prestigious award and on a more positive note for the first time since the inception of the award in 1961, two footballers are going to get this recognition in the same year.

Before Mandal & Chhetri, 20 (19 male & 1 female) Indian footballers have received this award and among current national team players, only skipper Bhaichung Bhutia has been conferred with this honour.

Former Indian international and Arjuna award winner Mohammed Habib is member of the award’s selection committee. He expressed his delight for the two players and stated that it could help the progress of Indian football.

“After a long time footballers are getting this prestigious award. In the last three years the Indian national team has done exceptionally well by winning two Nehru Cups and the AFC Challenge Cup. This will surely give confidence to the players,” he was quoted saying in the media.

Previous Arjuna Awardees In Football

No Year Recipient Name
1 1961 P. K. Banerjee
2 1962 Tulsidas Balaram
3 1963 Chuni Goswami
4 1964 Jarnail Singh
5 1965 Arun Lal Ghosh
6 1966 Yusuf Khan
7 1967 Peter Thangaraj
8 1969  Inder Singh
9  1970 Syed Nayeemuddin
10 1971 C. P. Singh
11 1973 Magan Singh
12 1978 Gurdev Singh Gill
13 1979 Prasun Banerjee
14 1980 Mohammed Habib
15 1981 Sudhir Karmakar
16 1983 Shanti Mullick (Female)
17 1989 Subrata Bhattacharya
18 1997 Brahmanand Sankhwalkar
19 1998 Baichung Bhutia
20 2002 I. M. Vijayan

Mr Consistency

Deepak Mandal - Mr Consistency for defense ?!!

Deepak Mandal has been one of the best defenders in the country for more than a decade now. He has been a regular in every club that he has played for and a mainstay in the national team.

Mandal was adjudged the Indian Player of the year back in 2002 and has played in every defensive role for both club and country with equal consistency.

History Maker

Sunil Chhetri - The History Maker, scoring goals with his wizardry ?!!

Forward Sunil Chhetri has arguably been India’s best striker since Bhaichung Bhutia, having produced a number of match winning performances for the national team including the hat-trick in the 2008 AFC Challenge Cup final against Tajikistan.

The Delhi lad also created history this year by becoming the third Indian to play abroad after completing his move to MLS outfit Kansas City Wizards.

Anwar Ali, who is a teammate of both Mandal and Chhetri in the national team, congratulated the two award winners.

Speaking to he said, “We are all very happy. Deepak bhai is a legend in Indian football and Chhetri’s performance has been exceptional. I am extremely pleased for the duo.”

Newly appointed Mohun Bagan captain Ishfaq Ahmed also praised the duo. He told, “I am very happy for Deepak and Sunil. Many of our players should have got earlier.

“Deepak’s service for national team and clubs has been immense over the years. I feel he deserved this long back. It’s great that now he is finally going to get it. I wish all the best to Sunil.

“In the coming years, more footballers should be recognized by the Government of India.”

The awards will be presented on the National Sports Day (29th August) at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi.

Sunil Chhetri: A thinking footballer
– and heaven blessed with great brains and good looks too ?!!

Sunil Chhetri - The Scholar Footballer, on the science & art of football ?!!

From Times of India
By Stanislaus P Dsouza, TOI Crest

Jul 31, 2010, 07.29am IST: Circa 2007. Three enthusiastic women journalists prop themselves at the Cooperage stands, hoping to get some sound bytes as they watch chief coach Sukhwinder Singh put his JCT players through the grind ahead of their ILeague clash against Mahindra United.

A young crew-cropped player catches their eye as he delicately caresses the ball with his feet, cleverly shielding it from all opposition while weaving his way through a maze of legs. Once inside the box, the vibrant striker buries the ball into the net.

Soon, they sit up and begin to watch closely. “He is cute,” says one of them as they get a closer look at him once the players cross sides. By the end of the training session they have made up their minds. He’s the player to be cornered. They are upon him in no time, bombarding him with questions. It is then that they realise he’s the new pin-up boy of Indian football and Sunil Chhetri is his name.

There was another surprise in store for the journos. Not only did the debonair player display his cute smile often but he also proved that he was media-savvy and adroit at answering the salvos thrown at him, cleverly shooting down comparisons with his national skipper Baichung Bhutia. The new Indian icon was more than just a good footballer; he was a brainy one too.

Born in Secunderabad in August 1984 to KB Chhetri of the Corps of EME and Sushila Chhetri, junior Chhetri gave every school he studied in – being an armyman, his father was on the move and the youngster had to frequently change schools, from Bahai School in Gangtok to Bethany’s in Darjeeling , and from Loyola School in Kolkata to the Army Public School in New Delhi – glimpses of his skill and talent. He later joined Asutosh College but abandoned it in Class XII to don the India colours at the Asian School Championship in Kuala Lumpur in October 2001.

Ironically, becoming a professional footballer was never Chhetri’s goal. The India star’s focus was on a good education, football was only meant to get him admission to a reputed college. But then the call to represent India at the Asian Schools changed all that.

He eventually graduated to the big league, first turning up for Delhi’s City Club. He then decided that he was ready for a bigger stage at the I-League where he joined Kolkata giants Mohun Bagan and later East Bengal before announcing his arrival as the successor to Baichung Bhutia at JCT. Twelve goals in the season after his six with East Bengal not only ensured that JCT finished second in 2007 in the 11th National League but also won him the Player of the Year award.

“Chhetri and Bhutia cannot be compared as they are two different players. Bhutia is a great opportunist while Chhetri is very skillful and a great shielder of the ball. He also has a good footballing brain,” says Pune FC coach Derrick Pereira.

That is precisely why Dempo coach Armando Colaco felt that he did not need a second foreign striker upfront to pair with Nigerian Ranty Martins. He was sure the India international was value for money and among the best strikers in the I-League , both Indian and foreign.

But people began to sit up and take notice of the player only when Chhetri made the mighty Tajikstan look small with a hattrick in the AFC Challenge Cup in 2008. India went on to win the tournament and booked a berth in the Asian Cup to be held in Doha, Qatar in January 2011.

Trial offers kept flowing in from First Division English clubs Coventry City, Queens Park Rangers and the Major League Soccer (MLS) in USA. It also came from Portugal clubs Estoril Praia (second division) and Liga de Honra. International football agents, too, came calling.

Advice from national coach Bob Houghton was sought and the Englishman was thrilled to back Chhetri into trying his wares in Europe or the United States. What makes the player of Nepali ethnicity special is his attitude , confidence and guile, not to forget his never-say-die spirit.

Houghton is aware that Chhetri’s gain would be India’s gain too. The Delhi lad, who has led the state from the front at the Nationals and spearheaded the attack at Bagan, East Bengal, JCT and Dempo, needed to play at a higher level to lift his game. And there is no place better than the Premier League or the MLS for Chhetri to sharpen his skills further.

“He is a very talented player and can use both feet, very skillful and good in the air. I liked his attitude and professionalism . He was always early on the ground and ever ready to learn – a committed player who gave us value for money for the three years he was with us,” says Sukhwinder Singh, former JCT chief coach and now India coach for the Asian Games team.

Strong-willed and ambitious, Chhetri finally broke into the MLS, joining Kansas City Wizards in March 2010. His highpoint with the club to date is his 21-minute cameo against Manchester United last Sunday. Other than that, Chhetri has been restricted by the bench with little exposure coming in as second-half substitution .

What the 26-year-old must understand is that it takes courage to answer a call, but more than that to give your all. More pace, consistency, clinical finishing and a ruthless mentality is the only way forward.


Setback for Team India: Bhaichung Bhutia out for three months – weight of winning now squarely on Sunil’s shoulders ?!!

Bhaichung and Sunil - sharing happy times, a winning pair sorely to be missed ?!!

From Sports Keeda
Posted by Arunava Chaudhuri

In a major setback for India’s preparations for the 2011 AFC Asian Cup in Qatar captain Baichung Bhutia left the team camp in Portugal yesterday to fly back to India due to Thyroiditis being diagnosed on him. And Team India could be without its captain in the next three/four months with insiders saying that Baichung is only set to rejoin the team in November.

While in Portugal, Baichung did not train for the last five days. He lost up to five kilos of weight and has been feeling weak which called for a medical assessment.

A Thyroid Profile was done on him in Portugal which revealed that he is suffering from Thyroiditis with Hyperthyroidism. Team doctor Sachin Yadav has advised him to take complete rest and get medical treatment, which would help him recover fully but it will take time for his Thyroid profile to become normal again.

For Baichung this isn’t the first time that a Thyroid related illness has been diagnosed on him. A few years ago he had to spend some time in hospital to get healthy and match fit again.

For Team India losing Baichung Bhutia will be a heavy burden. He is not only the captain and leader of the team, Baichung is a living hero amongst his team mates for all that he has been able to achieve.

Coach Bob Houghton will have to see who will be captain in Baichung’s absence during the Portugal tour, while for the team it means the younger strikers will have to prove themselves with Baichung out for the moment and Sunil Chhetri having club commitments for his MLS side Kansas City Wizards.

All the best to Bhai! We need you in Qatar…


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