Sunil Chhetri urges women's team to start preparations for AFC Asian Cup 2022
"The pressure will always be there but it's important to enjoy it because football is all about being happy. I'd be more than happy to watch you all from the stands, once the tournament starts," he added
India men's football team captain Sunil Chhetri has urged the women's team to leave no stone unturned and start preparing from now itself for the AFC Women's Asian Cup scheduled to be held in India in 2022.
In June this year, AFC granted India the right to host the coveted continental tournament. This makes it the second major women's tournament to be held in India in the space of two years after the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2021.
"It is an amazing opportunity that they have -- to play in such a high-level tournament. These are the levels where you want to be, playing the best in the continent," Chhetri, who holds the distinction of being the only Indian player to have appeared in two different editions of an Asian Cup, said.
"I'd like to urge all of them to start preparing for the tournament from now on itself. The last thing you want to do is feel regret once you start playing the tournament.
"Look into every small aspect of your game and try to improve it - your touch, speed, saving ability, shooting, burning those extra body fats - the process needs to start from right now," he added.
Having faced some of the top Asian oppositions in the AFC Asian Cup in 2011 and 2019 respectively, Chhetri feels that it is a unique opportunity for every player.
"It's such a great opportunity to play against some top opposition from Asia. That is why it is even more important to start preparing from now," Chhetri said.
"Once you have taken every step and prepared yourself in every manner possible, make sure that you enjoy the tournament once you start playing it. It's not every day that you play on the continental stage, and it's important for you to enjoy the moment.
"The pressure will always be there but it's important to enjoy it because football is all about being happy. I'd be more than happy to watch you all from the stands, once the tournament starts," he added.
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