Bengaluru: Bengaluru FC captain Sunil Chhetri feels no Indian football club has a three-year history like them and that in itself does all the talking about the giant strides taken by the southern outfit.
In an interview on Tuesday, the India skipper who scored a brace in Bengaluru FC’s AFC Cup semi-final second leg win against Johor Darul Ta’zim said, “The results should do all the talking and not me.”
“Bengaluru FC, in its three years of existence, won two I-League titles, a Federation Cup, made the last 16 in its first year of Asian competition and now we’re in the final of the AFC Cup. I’m not sure if there’s a better three-year record in club football in the country,” the 32-year-old added.
Asked what would be his advice to the younger crop before the AFC Cup final against Iraqi club Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya, Chhetri said, “The stage is big enough for everyone to find motivation from within. Our coach is the one giving out advice and he’s always asked us to be brave and I guess there is no better message than that.”
In 2011, when India played the 2011 Asian Cup in Doha, the former Mohun Bagan, East Bengal, JCT and Dempo attacker was just another member of the national team.
Five years later, when Bengaluru FC play the AFC Cup final at the same venue on Saturday, he is the most important cog in the wheel.
“There is a gap of five years and a lot of football has come between those years. While the city (Doha) stays the same, the stage is completely different. Doha in 2011 was a great learning curve for so many of us and I wouldn’t hesitate to say that despite where India finished it, taught us a great deal,” he said.
“Doha 2016 is an entirely whole new chapter and this time, it’s in club colours. We’re one good game away from something special. You cannot really compare the two tournaments. But I hope we leave Doha on a very happy note this time around.”