THE MAN CLUNG TO PASSION - SUNIL CHHETRI
Story of a footballer who had passion to succeed in life by hook or crook
Sports are good for any nation. Various games are played in India like Cricket, kabaddi, football, hockey, and many more. India in general is not bad at playing football considering the facilities that they get. Today we are going to write about one of India's finest football players, Sunil Chhetri. Chhetri began his professional career at Mohun Bagan in 2002. He was born 3 August 1984, known as an Indian professional footballer who plays as a striker or winger and captains both the Indian Super League side Bengaluru and the Indian national team. Popularly known as Captain Fantastic, having scored the second-highest number of goals in international matches among active male players after Cristiano Ronaldo, he is both the most-capped player and all-time top goalscorer for the Indian national team, with 72 goals in 115 appearances. He is the current captain of the national team. He was named an 'Asian Icon' by AFC on his 34th birthday.
He grew up in a mediocre family and his father worked as an officer in the army. Family’s meager income kept him away from any lavishness while growing up. In fact, he could not even afford new football shoes and had to stitch his torn shoe repeatedly in order to pursue his passion of becoming a footballer. He became one of the rising stars of Indian football and managed to sign a deal with Nike that ensured he got his hands on any of the new shoes the company released. But for him, a new challenge awaited. He was frustrated with the lack of attention that the world’s most popular sport was receiving in India. What exasperated him, even more, was that though Indians followed English and Spanish football, they barely cared about their own national team. Sunil always believed that only through his own efforts could he garner the attention of his countrymen towards the national team. He worked relentlessly, day and night, and won the Nehru Cup in 2007, 2009, and 2012.
He was also instrumental when India clinched the AFC Challenge Cup in 2008 that led to their qualification to the AFC Asian Cup for the first time in 27 years.
He also made a name for himself and got to play abroad with Kansas City in the United States in 2010 and with Sporting Clube de Portugal in 2012. But alas! None of these achievements seemed enough for the Indian Football Federation or the Indian football fans. So on June 2, 2018, he took to social media to plead to all Indians to come and watch them play for the nation in the Intercontinental Cup held at Mumbai. His request turned into a positive outcome. He had sparked hope in the minds of millions that there is hope for Indian football in the near future. He has single-handedly uplifted the status of Indian football and all of this was simply possible because he was able to challenge himself to the fullest and constantly evolve to be a better footballer each and every single day.
Hence I believe that hard work and passion will surely give success and identification is what I learned from Sunil's story.