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Home > Sports News > Football News > Article > Chhetri I wasnt captain cool then

Chhetri: I wasn't captain cool then

Updated on: 26 March,2024 07:25 AM IST  |  Guwahati

On the eve of his 150th match for India v Afghanistan, Sunil reveals he started off as a mischievous youngster but experience made him calm over the years

Chhetri: I wasn't captain cool then

India’s Sunil Chhetri during the match against Uzbekistan at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Doha last week. Pic/Getty Images

Sunil Chhetri did not need anyone to tutor him on what he had to do on a football pitch but the same can’t be said of the talismanic Indian striker when it came to things he was not supposed to do as a player in his early days.

That’s where the role of Sukhwinder Singh, the former India player and Chhetri’s first coach in international football, assumed significance.

On the eve of his 150th match for India, the veteran recalled the contributions made by the affable Sukhwinder who “turned the little boy in me into a man.”

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“I think when I played under him, that was the right time to do so for me. Again, with the benefit of hindsight, I think I did the right thing. I learned a lot as to what not to do as a player on the pitch, and Sukhi Sir has had a massive role in teaching me things. He allowed me to do the things that came naturally to me,” Chhetri told

Chhetri might be an ice-cool presence on the field now, but Sukhwinder played a big role in instilling that calmness in him. “I wasn’t exactly the thing that a lot of people associate with me today. They call me ‘Captain Cool’, but I wasn’t always so cool and calm. I was quite mischievous, I was quite haywire.

“I tried a lot of things on and off the pitch. He helped me understand what serious football is, and with the help of others who came later as well, he had a massive role in turning that little boy in me into a man.”

In the two decades since making his international debut against Pakistan in Quetta, Chhetri has gone on to become one of India’s all-time greatest footballers, though he is not the fearless player he once was. At 39, he is a different footballer but the hunger for goals remains.

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