Constantine: ‘We are not dependent on Chhetri’

Indian national football team coach Stephen Constantine has said that the Indian side is not solely dependent on seasoned forward Sunil Chhetri anymore.

Stephen Constantine said Indian football had attained a new status due to the Indian Super League.   -  PTI

Indian national football team coach Stephen Constantine has said that the Indian side is not solely dependent on seasoned forward Sunil Chhetri anymore.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a workshop for scouts here on Tuesday, Constantine said, “I don't think we are dependent on Sunil Chhetri. He is always at the right place at the right time. There is fierce competition for all places.

“Chhetri is a player who has been consistent, professional, looks after himself, is a great player and great leader. We are happy with him but there are plenty of other players who are coming up and we would continue to search for players that will help us.”

‘Bhutia more aggressive’

Asked about the comparison being made between Bhaichung Bhutia and Chhetri, Constantine said, “Both are great players in their own right. Bhaichung was a little bit more aggressive. Maybe that was because he spent three years in England. But Chhetri is different, he can play a bit wider. He can come off the flanks. He can give us different looks if you like. I think there is quite a big difference.”

The Englishman said Indian football had attained a new status. “The Indian Super League (ISL) has made us universal. It has shown that Indians not only play football and not bad either. We are good players. I think, however, when things pan out in the future we know that we are centrestage.

“We have an under-17 World Cup taking place here and it’s a huge honour for us. We should make the most of that. Because once the FIFA World Cup closes, we are on our own. We need to maintain the facilities and see that the pitch is okay. So two-three years later, we don’t come back looking for fields.”

Constantine backed the idea of bringing uniformity in coaching and educating scouts, who would pick talented players from grass roots level on a regular basis.

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