The untold story of Indian footballer Sunil Chhetri: From aspiring cricketer to ace footballer!
by Unik Dhandhi, Tuesday, August 07, 2018
Living in India, a kid learns only one thing about cricket which is that everyone loves it in India. Cricketers are treated as Gods in this country. Every Indian treats them with love, respect and tons of envy. Hence, every kid aspires to become either Shah Rukh Khan or Sachin Tendulkar on account of the fame associated with both the professions.
Likewise, India's ace footballer Sunil Chhetri also aspired on becoming an established cricketer like that of Kohli and Tendulkar during his early days. But little did he know that life had other surprises planned for this hard-working sportsman. When Chhetri was a mere teenager, he had no clue that playing football will soon become his identity.
Here are some key highlights from the untold story of ace Indian cricketer Sunil Chhetri:
As we mentioned above, Chhetri wanted to became a cricketer during his early days. However, Sunil's family's poor economical state did not let that happen. Sunil Chhetri explained it in very common terms by saying: "I did not have the guts to tell the guy who earned 8000 rupees, my father, to give me 2000 rupees just for my pads and my bat. We were not poor but come 20th of every month and things started looking a little bit tough."
Stealing 50 bucks
Hailing from a middle-class family, Chhetri learned to value the resources on account of the economical problems faced during his childhood. Being a student of the Army School New Delhi, Chhetri had to face numerous situations when all of his peers had enough resources except for him. The financial crisis led to stealing for which he was once beaten very hard by his mother for stealing 50 bucks from her. Chhetri recalls this incident by saying: "My mother started crying and that really scared me. In my head I was like ma, you just beat me for two hours, why are you crying? She held me and she said 'I am so sorry that we can't fulfil your needs and that we are making a thief out of our son'. That is something that shook me."
Soon after the heartbreaking incident of being beaten up by his mother, Chhetri began his football practices in full flow. If anything, Sunil knew that he had to respect what he has and work his way through the odds. As a wise man once said, "hard work always pays off" and likewise, Sunil received a 3-year contract for playing in the Mohun Bagan football league. Sunil knew that his journey as a sportsman has begun.
By the time he played about 10 matches for Mohun bagan, Sunil Chhetri became one of the prominent figures in the field of football in India. But it was about time when Chhetri wanted more exposure and play international sport events. Finally in 2009, Chhetri arrived in Coventry to begin his first trial ever, for Coventry City. But it was just the beginning of his evolution as a football player. Sunil explained his experience over there by saying: "I was battered. I got slapped, I got hit, I was about to cry. The pace was so fast that I didn't have a clue what was happening. Chris Coleman, the manager at that time called me into his room and said that your touch is good, you have footballing brains but your basics are zero. I was sad that he was being so harsh but I was happy that he was being honest."
Sporting Club de Portugal
It took some hard beating for Sunil to understand the pace of International football clubs. Soon he was transferred from Coventry City to Kansas City Wizards where he worked on the rough edges of his game. Unfortunately, Sunil did not get much chance of playing for the club which made him very sad. Finally, news broke out that Indian footballer Sunil Chhetri has signed a two-year contract with Sporting Club De Portugal about which Sunil said: "I went to Sporting Club de Portugal and this time I was training good and knew exactly what was there. At Sporting I was much more happy. The only sad part was that the team was so good that I did not get much chances. I played only 5-6 games."
And since then there was no returning back for the football star of India, Sunil Chhetri. Stay tuned for more sports related updates.