Sunil Chettri backs the U17 national team’s motive of changing things around ahead of their game against Colombia.

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India’s senior team captain and formidable striker Sunil Chettri gave a confidence boost to the young talents of the nation before they meet Colombia on Monday at Jawaharlal Nehru stadium, New Delhi. India lost in their season opener against USA by 3-0 with their coach now in huge criticism. But Sunil wants his team to derive positivity from their defeat in the opening game and urge for improvement in the game play. He said he is happy with some of the moments that looked encouraging.

“I am very proud at the way the team played in the game. They pushed away from the flow in the opening 20 minutes but they then damage their mindset to go ultra defensive giving too much respect to the opponents. India was taking the game into a goalless first half but US went ahead from the spot. Had that penalty not been awarded that time, we would have snatched a vital point from them. But I loved the way the boys reacted after coinciding. They uplifted their spirit and began to move forward which is always good to watch.”

Chettri remarked that his viewpoint is from the perspective of a spectator and not that of a coach or technical director.

” I am not a coach so I leave technical matters to the coach. I am viewing myself as a fan and wanted the national team to play more attacking football. I wanted them to enjoy the game competing them fearlessly, the reason behind that this is the actual strength of our squad.”

” In the second half, they turned the game little bit to their favour but played well to change their attitude rebuilding their structure. I urge for more qualities on the ball so we can give more hard times to our opponents in the next matches.”

Sunil also pointed out that the housefull crowd at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium somewhat made a negative impact in the performance on the pitch. All the fans gathered in large numbers to support the nation and to watch this historic day unfolds before their eyes.
” I played over there a lot of times but never in such a festive occasion with the whole crowd buzzing. Excitement, colourful displays, chants all enlightened the unforgettable day. Therefore it is always hard to battle with the whole of nation supporting your team with full rage.”

Finally he put his thumbs up for the courageous attempt of the youngsters to do their very best in the upcoming game of Group A. “We are all with you and will support you till the last. Our squad has a massive unity amongst them. They play for each other and as a whole understands each other’s capability. I know the potential of this team to get points out of next two games. Colombia are a strong team on pen and paper and the actual strength is shown on the pitch eleven versus eleven so never back down.”