Things couldn’t have gone better for Team India captain Sunil Chhetri on his 100th appearance, as he led Team India to a 3-0 victory against Kenya in the Intercontinental Cup.
Chhetri scored two goals as the raucous crowd in the Mumbai showered the team with overwhelming support. India will now play in the final.
Chhetri’s plea over the weekend urging fans to come out and support Team India paid off handsomely. After a dismal turnout of less than 2000 fans last Friday, on Monday, the official attendance was 8890 people in a stadium with a capacity of 10,500.
— Blue Pilgrims (@BluePilgrims) June 4, 2018
In fact, last evening, a popular YouTuber, Nikunj Lotia, announced on social media that he had bought out an entire stand and asked fellow fans to get in touch with him for tickets.
Chhetri’s plea on social media received massive support from several famous personalities and sporting icons. After the match, Chhetri expressed his gratitude, while a whole host of celebrities came out in celebration on social media, and congratulated Team India for their stupendous win.
We promise you that if that’s the kind of support we get every time we play for the country, we will give our lives on the pitch. India, this night was special because we were in this together. Those in the stands shouting, and the ones at home cheering – thank you!
— Sunil Chhetri (@chetrisunil11) June 4, 2018
— Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) June 4, 2018
What a fantastic victory. Congratulations @chetrisunil11 on your 100th international match and for making it extra special with the two goals and a fantastic victory in front of a packed stadium. Great news for @IndianFootball #INDvKEN pic.twitter.com/f5isKrYxdi
— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) June 4, 2018
A truly inspiring and well deserved win for our IndianFootball team.??✌???
Many congratulations to the team for the 3-0 win against Kenya today!
Amazing show by the team & Captain @chetrisunil11 on his 100th match! #BackTheBlue #INDvKEN
— geeta phogat (@geeta_phogat) June 4, 2018
A superb and well deserved win by our @IndianFootball team.
Congratulations to the team for the 3-0 win against Kenya today!@chetrisunil11 lead from the front and scored 2 goals in his 100th match!
— Rajyavardhan Rathore (@Ra_THORe) June 4, 2018
On a more sobering note, however, Team India coach Stephen Constantine said that players shouldn’t beg fellow Indians to attend matches. “I don’t feel we should be begging people to watch the national team. The response has been unbelievable. When the national team has been playing the manner we have been playing in the last three years it was disappointing to see the turnout in the first match,” he said, according to an AIFF press release.
Nonetheless, Team India will play New Zealand next on June 7, and all the tickets have been sold out. It’s impossible to deny the impact Chhetri’s plea had on Indian fans.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)