Sunil Chhetri, India’s legend and all time highest goalscorer in Indian football has become the first Indian to feature on the front of the AFC Quarterly magazine.
The official magazine, launched more than three years ago by AFC (Asian Football Confederations), released it’s 19th issue on the 10th July with the Indian and Bengaluru FC’s Captain featured on the cover, which is a unique benchmark of inspiration for the sport in India.
Chhetri is described as “India’s icon leading club and country to continental glory” on the cover and inside features in a six page article on the life of the legend football star. Where he talks of many things including being raised in a footballing family, with both his mother and father having played the game, his father for his army team and his mother, represented Nepal’s women’s team.
During his maiden appearance for India against Pakistan in 2005 Chhetri scored his first goal against their bitter rivals.
“That goal always comes to my mind when asked about my favourite goal,” said Chhetri in the article.
“It was against Pakistan, in Pakistan, and I was 19 or 20 at the time. It was my debut so it will always be special to me.
“There are a few great moments that also spring to mind but the 2008 AFC Challenge Cup when I scored a hat-trick against Tajikistan in the final [to progress to the 2011 AFC Asian Cup] was very sweet.”
India’s all-time top-scorer with 54 goals has recently signed a three-year contract with Bengaluru FC, which is set to keep him at the club till the end of the 2019-20 season. Bengaluru FC are one of the new teams of the fourth edition of Indian Super League.
Next month, Bengaluru FC will be hosting 4.25 SC in the knockout stage of AFC Cup at Sree Kanteerava Stadium. The talismanic Captain is hopeful to lead his side to another victory after being the key in India’s 1-0 win over Kyrgyz Republic in the AFC Asian Cup 2019 qualifiers.
Meanwhile, on the back of their fine run with 13 wins from 15 matches, India have achieved 96th place in FIFA rankings, their best-ever FIFA ranking since February 1996.