Sunil Chhetri, one of the greatest footballers that India has produced, recently made a heartfelt plea to all the fans of Lionel Messi, Neymar, and Cristiano Ronaldo-- "abuse us, criticise us but please come to watch the Indian national team play."
The skipper who scored his third international hat-trick in-front of a near-empty Mumbai Football Arena (MFA) stand asked fans to come to the stadium, even if they want to criticise the Indian football team.
"To all of you, who have lost hope or don't have any hope in Indian football, we request you to come and watch us in the stadium," the skipper said.
This is nothing but a small plea from me to you. Take out a little time and give me a listen. pic.twitter.com/fcOA3qPH8i
— Sunil Chhetri (@chetrisunil11) June 2, 2018
Chhetri also had a request for all the arm-chair critics of Indian football -- please abuse but make the 'Blue Tigers' feel relevant. "I mean it's not fun to criticise and abuse on internet. Come to the stadium, do it on our face, scream at us, shout at us, abuse us, who knows one day we might change you guys, you might start cheering for us. You guys have no idea how important you guys are and how important your support is," the skipper appealed.
Following Chhetri's video, Indian cricketer Virat Kohli took to social media and asked everyone to show support.
In his video message, Kohli said, “In support of what my good friend and Indian captain Sunil Chhetri posted sometime back, I want to request everyone to go and watch Indian football play. Anyone who loves any kind of sport, go and cheer for the team in the stadiums because they are working hard, they are a talented team and I have seen these players evolve and learn over the last few seasons and get so much better at their game.”
Please take notice of my good friend and Indian football skipper @chetrisunil11's post and please make an effort. pic.twitter.com/DpvW6yDq1n — Virat Kohli (@imVkohli) June 2, 2018
As the word spread, Indian Internet came to the rescue. Famous YouTubers such as Nikunj Lotia (@BeYouNick) and Prajakta Koli (@mostlysane) came out in support of Chhetri and asked their fans to support the national football team.
In fact, @BeYouNick bought an entire stand and asked football lovers to attend the match free of cost.
What happened next will bring a smile to your face.
The Intercontinental cup match between India and Kenya at the Mumbai Football arena on 4th June has officially sold out.
An error message that Chhetri wouldn't mind seeing over and over again. Incidentally, this will also be Chhetri's 100th International match.
And, now, everyone wants a ticket.
Legend 💫 can I have tickets pls 😀🙌🏽 https://t.co/OysLcazVVc
— Sania Mirza (@MirzaSania) June 3, 2018
In case, you couldn't get your hands on tickets, fret not, India takes on New Zealand on 7th June at the same venue and tickets are available here.