THE BLOG BY CPD FOOTBALL | The World of Indian football and beyond by Chris Punnakkattu Daniel

Chhetri: It’s going to be a tough tournament

Sunil Chhetri

India skipper Sunil Chhetri has arrived in Bangalore and he has joined the national team camp on Monday. The Sporting Clube de Portugal star is looking for the 2012 Nehru Cup, which will be a tough challenge according to Sunil.

“All the teams in the Nehru Cup are good. Syria is the most improved side and Cameroon is ranked at 59 in the world, but we have a good side too,” Sunil told after his first training session under the supervision of new India coach Wim Koevermans yesterday. “Being defending champions, we’re looking to continue that and do well. Cameroon and Syria are very good sides, Nepal and Maldives are no pushovers either and we’re there, so it’s going to be a tough tournament.”

“We have been working on keeping the ball more. It will not happen overnight, but we are doing fairly well in practice now,” the star striker commented on his first impression of Koevermans’ training.
“The mantra for success for any team is to execute exactly what the coach says. We must understand what he wants from us, and we must play with his formula.”

“We are heading in the right direction. We are not emulating any particular country or style here. We have our own technique and I am sure that beginning with the Nehru Cup, over time it will work wonders,” he added.

While asked about his experiences with Sporting Clube de Portugal’s ‘B’ Team, Sunil said: “It has been a wonderful experience, its been just 28 days, playing at such a top level has opened up my mind. My mentality towards the way I look at football has changed completely. The intensity of the game is much higher there, at a different level altogether.”

Sunil had also a quick word on India’s FIFA World Ranking before signing off. “I do not believe that we are 168th in the world. We are a much better side than that, we need to play more matches against bigger teams only then can we gain more points and improve our ranking,” Sunil correctly pointed out.

More details and exclusive updates on the the NEHRU CUP will be available at