All India Football Federation President Mr. Praful Patel joined National Team players across all age-groups today (Friday, May 15, 2020) via a video conference to get a feel of their well-being during the lockdown phase.
National Men’s Team players including captain Sunil Chhetri, Sandesh Jhingan, Anirudh Thapa and Amrinder Singh were in attendance along with Bala Devi, Aditi Chauhan, and Dangmei Grace from the Women’s Senior Team. Players from Indian Arrows, U-16 and U-17 boy’s National Teams and also from U-17 Women’s World Cup squad also attended the meeting.
Mr. Kushal Das, General Secretary, AIFF and Mr. Abhishek Yadav, Director National Teams were also present.
The players briefed the President about “adhering to the respective schedules from the technical staff,” and about “staying safe at home with family,” and “picking up new indoor hobbies.”
The President spoke individually to all the players, encouraging them to “stay ready” as and when footballing action resumes. “We are extremely proud of all of you. Keep the flag flying high,” he stated. “We are in touch with the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs as to when footballing action can resume in India,” he added. “Stay safe everyone, and don’t rush.”
“This is such a nice platform where the juniors can look up to their idols directly. I am sure that getting to interact with the likes of Chhetri, Jhingan, Bala and others will inspire the junior players,” the President stressed.
Speaking to the U-17 Women’s World Cup squad, Mr. Patel wished them luck. “Give it your best shot, and never be under pressure. I am confident you will do well,” he said. “The new dates have been announced and all of you need to stay knitted together as a team, and raise each other’s morale.”
Speaking on their behalf, the Women’s National Team players thanked Mr. Patel for “planning a strong International programme” which helped the Senior Women’s play 25 Friendly matches in 2018-19 as part of their exposure tours. ‘The experience helped us mature into better players,” they said in unison.
Meanwhile, Chhetri urged everyone to “eat and sleep well.”
“The lockdown tends to disturb your schedule a lot as everyone tends to sleep at awkward times. That also affects your diet. So as players we need to be extra careful and stick to our routines.