Chhetri in line of friendly fire
- Elections 2014 LIVE: Somnath Bharti thrashed by alleged BJP supporters in Varanasi
- Stakes high for BJP, Congress as 11 states go to polls tomorrow; A Raja, Milind Deora in fray
- Arvind Kejriwal beats Narendra Modi in Time magazine's poll of most influential people
- Priyanka Gandhi continues to target Narendra Modi, rakes up snoopgate
- IPL 7 Live Cricket Score, CSK vs RR: RR field, Southee makes his IPL debut against CSK
In the seven months he has spent in Portugal, Sunil Chhetri has played for only 46 minutes. He hasn't managed to force himself into the starting XI even once and is still waiting for his first league goal. Of the 15 times he has been named in the squad, the 28-year-old striker has come on as a substitute three times while has stayed on the bench on 12 occasions.
These are worrying facts for any top level footballer, let alone who is the best player and skipper of his national team. And even though chief coach Wim Koevermans will not accept it, he will be worried about his skipper's form and fitness as India prepare to take on Palestine in an international friendly on Wednesday.
Chhetri's move last July to Sporting Lisbon 'B', the reserve team of a club that is among Europe's elite, was met with much fanfare. The move generated a lot of curiosity in Portugal, and he announced his arrival with a goal in a warm-up match 10 days after signing for them.
Between then and now, Chhetri has managed only three substitute appearances (twice in the dying minutes against Freamunde and FC Braga B and once in the 53rd minute against Uniao Madeira). In fact, the match against Madeira in December was the last time he appeared for Lisbon.
Koevermans has been quite supportive of his captain, offering to travel to Lisbon to help him out. But the situation hasn't changed much. Chhetri's lack of fitness was evident when he came off with a muscle injury during India's 2-0 defeat to Singapore in a friendly in October.
Koevermans believes that Chhetri is benefitting from practising with top-quality players in world-class facilities. The Dutchman did not comment directly when asked if lack of match practice for Chhetri concerned him. Instead, he said: "There's a quite a lot of talent in India but just that they are not playing regularly. I see that as a concern for a few players."
- Lalu Prasad hits out at BJP and VHP, says its leaders Giriraj Singh, Praveen Togadia are 'hate mongering'
- Gujarat model a big lie, BJP should clarify: Akhilesh
- Priyanka Gandhi continues to target Narendra Modi, rakes up snoopgate issue
- 2,700 more Muzaffarnagar riots victims apply for relief
- Shazia Ilmi's 'communal muslims' remark: BJP hits out at Aam Aadmi Party
- Battle of Varanasi: Kejriwal tears into Rahul, Modi over 'helicopter democracy'