Football

Vijayan’s salute to Chhetri

Legendary trio: Bhaichung Bhutia, left, and I.M. Vijayan, right, felicitate captain Sunil Chhetri for his 100th appearance for India.

Legendary trio: Bhaichung Bhutia, left, and I.M. Vijayan, right, felicitate captain Sunil Chhetri for his 100th appearance for India.

I.M. Vijayan and Sunil Chhetri lurking around the box for the same team would have been a nightmare for goalkeepers. But unfortunately for India, the two strikers turned all-rounders, never turned out for the national squad at the same time, though they did play together in camps.

“By the time he got in, I had retired,” said Vijayan, who was in the city for for the current India captain’s 100th match.

The 2003 Afro-Asian Games in Hyderabad was Vijayan’s last international competition while, Chhetri took a bow at the 2004 SAF Games in Islamabad, netting on debut.

“India does not have a striker of his quality, this is reality. There is no player who can replace him in that position,” said Vijayan, who also admitted that he thought about coming for this match after seeing Chhetri’s video.

“I saw Chhetri’s video and really liked it, so decided to show my appreciation of his contribution for India by being present at the stadium for the landmark game.

“Chhetri can be called an all-rounder, he can score from free-kicks, he is effective even when playing deep and is able to handle the team capably. He is all class as a player, a great person, which is the best part about him.”


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Printable version | Jun 26, 2022 10:13:21 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/football/vijayans-salute-to-chhetri/article24082027.ece