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Indian Football Team Heavily Dependent On Skipper Sunil Chhetri: Bhaichung Bhutia

Bhaichung Bhutia said that India's defence has already showed a good account of itself in the last two FIFA World Cup qualifying matches and the onus is on the strikers, led by skipper Sunil Chhetri, to deliver against Bangladesh on October 15 at Kolkata

Indian Football Team Heavily Dependent On Skipper Sunil Chhetri: Bhaichung Bhutia
After retiring from football, Bhaichung Bhutia started Hamro Sikkim Party.
Indian Football Team Heavily Dependent On Skipper Sunil Chhetri: Bhaichung Bhutia
outlookindia.com
2019-10-10T18:17:26+0530

Former Indian football captain Bhaichung Bhutia on Thursday said that the forward line of the current team is heavily dependent on Sunil Chhetri and the other players need to step up and score goals. (More Football News)

Bhutia said that the team's defence has already showed a good account of itself in the last two World Cup qualifier matches and the onus is on the strikers to deliver against Bangladesh on October 15 at Kolkata.

Read: ISL Has Helped Indian Footballers, Says Bhutia

"Our main concern has been defending and if they can maintain that it's okay. Now this Bangladesh game is going to be a big test for the strikers. It's not the defence but the forward line which will have to deliver," Bhutia told PTI in an interview.

"I think against Qatar (in the drawn match), India defended well. We definitely require more goal-scoring strikers. We need to improve our striking zone as it's only Sunil who's able to score. If he's not playing or does not score it becomes very, very difficult."

Also Read: 'Son Of The Soil' Baichung Bhutia Gets 70 Votes In Gangtok, Loses Both Seats In Sikkim

The draw against Qatar in Doha in their last match gave India their first point in round two of the World Cup qualifiers after they had tasted a 1-2 defeat against Oman in their Group E opening clash in Guwahati.

India need to beat Bangladesh here to keep their hopes of qualifying for the next round alive. Bangladesh are currently ranked 187th, 83 places below India.

"The way they have played the last two games, it should come easy for India and they should win it comfortably," the former captain said.

Also Read: Once A Decorated Striker, Bhutia Yet To Dribble Past Political Opponents And Score

He also spoke about India's spirited display against Qatar, especially by the defensive unit led by goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu who thwarted a barrage of attacks to come out on a clean slate.

"It's been great and fantastic last two matches, one of the best that India have played. But it has to go on. You have set a standard now that has to be kept. The consistency and the performance the way they played the last two matches has to continue.

Read: India Can Do Better, Says Asamoah Gyan

"Defensive, formation, discipline and keeping it tight were the biggest takeways. They played compact football. Gurpreet is one of the fantastic goalkeepers. I was in the committee of Arjuna Awards, I knew what Gurpreet has done," he said on Gurpreet who was bestowed with the Arjuna Award recently.

Talking about centre back Sandesh Jhingan, Bhutia said, "He is one player who gives everything on the pitch. That's been from day one when I first saw him as a 17-year-old boy at United Sikkim."

The footballer-turned-Hamro Sikkim Party leader, who is contesting the Gangtok bye-elections on October 21, also said that the Indian team should play more often in Kolkata where the crowd normally turns up in large numbers.

Also Read: Jhingan Limps Off As India Settle For Draw With NorthEast United

"It's the Mecca of Indian football and it's nice and interesting to play at the Saltlake Stadium. I feel that India should play more often in Kolkata," Bhutia said.

India last played in Kolkata on November 16, 2011 in a friendly match against Malaysia when they won 3-2 with Chhetri setting up the win with a brace.

The ticket sales are on a high with 34,000 already sold out for the match at Saltlake that last hosted a marquee game in the U-17 World Cup summit clash between England and Spain in October 2017.

"It's unfortunate that it's somehow taken eight years for Kolkata to host an India match. I'm sure the football fans in Kolkata will also enjoy," Bhutia said.

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