Sunil Chetri, who has been named the All India Football Federation's ‘player of the year 2011,' will miss India's match against top German club Bayern Munich, scheduled to be held at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on January 10, due to an ankle injury.
Chetri, who is nursing a grade two ligament tear in his left ankle, will get rid of the plaster on January 5. “After that, there will be about two weeks of rehab before I get back to action. Sitting idle at home is the most painful experience for a footballer. When you receive such an award, you want to hit the field immediately but I am helpless. That pains,” said the 27-year-old striker on Tuesday.
Chetri was chosen for the prestigious annual award by I-League coaches who voted on a list of five players. He will receive a cash award of Rs. two lakh and a silver plaque.
“It is the highest recognition for an Indian footballer and I am honoured to receive the award for the second time. At a time when I am confined to my home with my leg plastered, this is perhaps the best Christmas and New Year present for me,” Chetri said.
The diminutive forward, who played 17 international matches this year, scored 13 goals — the most by an Indian — in 2011. He also found the target 11 times in 20 club appearances. Chetri also received the Arjuna award and won the ‘man of the championship' honour in the recently-concluded SAFF championship.
“Looking back, it has been an excellent year for me. A footballer always needs to constantly keep himself motivated and look eager for the next challenge. In the entire year, the moment I finished a match, I longed for the next challenge to kick off,” said Chetri.