A 25-member Indian national football team arrived in Kathmandu on Monday evening to play two friendly matches against Nepal. The matches will be played in Kathmandu on September 2 and 5. Both the teams are preparing for the South Asian Football Federation Championship to be held in Maldives from October 1-16. Sunil Chettri, the captain of the Indian team, whose ancestors are from Nepal, spoke in Nepali language upon his arrival at the Tribhuvan International Airport.
“I am feeling proud to be here in Nepal which is the land of my grandfather and grandmother," Chettri said.
“We are happy to play with Nepal. The games are important because Nepal is a strong team. Nepal is hosting us amid the Covid pandemic, so we are happy to be here in Kathmandu," Chettri told reporters at the airport.
When asked about India’s preparations about the SAFF Championship, he said that due to the Covid pandemic, several senior players are not playing.
“We have been practicing for two weeks and we are playing without our senior players," Chettri said.
Come to see the warm reception, stay for @chetrisunil11‘s Nepali! 👌😄#IndianFootball ⚽ #BackTheBlue 💙 #BlueTigers 🐯@IndiaInNepal @theanfaofficial @theafcdotcom @FIFAcom @FIFAWorldCup pic.twitter.com/AAK0B1HZ9W— Indian Football Team (@IndianFootball) August 30, 2021
Chettri has a huge fan following in Nepal.
India squad: Igor Stimak (coach), Amarinder Singh, Dheeraj Singh, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Pritam Kotal, Chilesana Singh, Mandarrao Desai, Akash Mishra, Rahul Bheke, Shubhashish Bose, Ceritan Fernandez, Laleng Mabia, Vipin Singh, Anirudh Thapa, Sahal Abdul Samad, Brandon Fernandez, Liston Kolako, Yasir Mohammad, Glan Martins, Suresh Singh, Jackson Singh, Prony Haldar, Manveer Singh, Rahim Ali, Sunil Chhetri and Farooq Chaudhary.