Cricket Icon Sachin Tendulkar has urged Indians to extend their support to the Indian football team and encourage them by filling the stadiums whenever they represent the country in the game.
His message came after Indian football team captain Sunil Chhetri shared an emotional video on his official social media handle seeking support for the national side, urges Indians to come and watch the team play whenever they play.
Chhetri also asked fans to come and cheer them when they will play Kenya in the Intercontinental Cup in Mumbai on Monday (4 June). It will be his 100th match in the national jersey.
On 2 June, Chhetri can be seen saying on Twitter, “I request you all to please come... talk about the game, go back home, have discussions, make banners. Please get involved, this is an important time and juncture in Indian football and football in India needs you guys. To all of you who are fans of big European clubs and support European clubs with so much passion and sometimes you guys think that the level is not the same, so why do you waste your time? Agreed, the level is not the same, not even close but with our desire and determination, we will try our best to make your time worth.”
Chhetri further added, “To all of you, who have lost hope or don’t have any hope in Indian football, we request you to come and watch us in the stadium. Addressing the internet warriors and armchair critics. I mean it’s not fun to criticise and abuse on the internet. Come to the stadium, do it on our face, scream at us, shout at us, abuse us, who knows one day we might change you guys, you might start cheering for us. You guys have no idea how important you guys are and how important your support is.”
Following the message, India cricket captain Virat Kohli came out in support of Chhetri’s plea and said the people should accept and support all sports equally so that India becomes a sporting nation.
Meanwhile, Tendulkar also shared a message on Twitter, where he can be seen saying, “I feel it is important to support and encourage our athletes, be it football, hockey, badminton, tennis, wrestling, cricket. It is really important that we stand behind them. Our athletes go through rigours training sessions to bring laurels to our nation. The dream is to represent the nation and it is India.”