I cannot rest on past laurels, says Chhetri

     Yangon, Mar 1:

India skipper Sunil Chhetri, who had struck a hat-trick in the final when India won the 2008 AFC Challenge Cup, stressed on the importance of not resting on past laurels and said he is focussed on leading the team’s campaign in the AFC Challenge Cup Qualifiers.

     Ahead of the opener against Chinese Taipei here tomorrow, Chhetri said the team would take no outfit lightly in the competition in its bid to qualify for the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup finals in Maldives.

     “I just hope that I can live up to the expectations. As a player, it never comes to my mind as to which tournament or match I am playing. I have always had one aim – to do well for my country. This is a very important tournament for us and we, as a team, will give everything we have,” Chhetri told www.The-aiff.Com.

     “Chinese Taipei and Myanmar are very good teams especially Myanmar, as they are playing at home. But first things first, and at the moment, we are concentrating on our first match against Chinese Taipei. We need to take one match at a time,” he said.

     India have been clubbed with hosts Myanmar, Chinese Taipei and Guam in Group A. They play Chinese Taipei in their first match followed by games against Guam and hosts Myanmar on March 4 and March 6 respectively.

     Twenty countries have been divided into five groups of four with the quartet playing against each other in a one-round league in a centralised venue. The five group winners and two best second-placed teams will join host nation Maldives at the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup finals.

     India’s second highest scorer with 38 goals behind Bhaichung Bhutia’s 42, Chhetri said he was happy with his signing for I-league club Churchill Brothers on loan, but admitted the responsibility has come with an added pressure.

     “It’s good but at the same time, it’s an added pressure. There will be expectations as we are in contention to win the I-League this season. I have played two matches for them and am looking forward to joining them after the campaign in the AFC Challenge Cup 2014,” he said. (PTI)



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