As the countdown for the AFC Asian Cup qualifiers begins, Indian skipper Sunil Chhetri said he has always felt at home while in Kolkata.
Team India is currently in Kolkata for the final round of AFC Asian Cup 2023 Qualifiers, with the first match against Cambodia on June 8.
"A lot of fond memories—I started my career here. I got the taste of the Kolkata maidan here which is really special. I am married here and have an excellent family here. I am always at home in Kolkata," said Sunil Chhetri as per an AIFF release.
"I have always maintained that you may have played in every club and part of India, but if you haven't got a taste of playing here in Kolkata, you are not complete as a player. The fans just love you here. Obviously, I have also been at the receiving end many times. I had my first brush of the Bengali language here at the Maidan—both in the form of love and abuses (laughs aloud)," he added.
Regarding the mood in Team India's camp, the skipper said that slowly and steadily every player is getting fit for the upcoming games.
"The mood is happy, and slowly and steadily everyone is getting fit—everyone is trying to understand each other. It's quite a new team and a lot of places are up for grabs. There's also a lot of new talent coming up. The good part is that everyone is hungry. We are hoping to get the right balance. Irrespective of who gets a chance, we will put our best foot forward," said the Indian skipper.
On being asked about his job in the team after the entry of Liston Colaco and Brandon Fernandes, Chhetri said, "I would say it's more of a responsible job. I'd not want to categorise it as either easy or hard. Sometimes I get into this vicious circle of thinking about it, and it affects my game in a manner I don't like. So, I prefer to stay away from it. I try to keep my job simpler because I can do as much as I can do. The best feeling is when I go out and give whatever I have," he added.