Picture : Sunil Chhetri, the Captain of India’s National Team
GOOD LUCK BASTI !
Bastian Schweinsteiger “Basti”, the German Midfield Player, announced his retirement from professional football after a big and fabulous career.
Born in Kolbermoor, southern town of Bavaria state, in 1984, Bastian began his career at age of 6. In 1998 he joined FC Bayern München and stayed there 17 years, 13 from 2002 to 2015 with the professional team. He played 611 matches (91 goals) with FC Bayern and won the UEFA Champions League 2013, the UEFA SuperCup 2013, the FIFA World Club 2013, 8 Bundesliga titles and 7 DFB Cups. 2013 was his year, he won 6 titles with his club, became Germany’s Footballer of the Year and one year later, World Champion 2014 with Germany in Brazil !
His long years with Germany’s National Team (2004-2017) were much historic. He ended at 3rd position in the World Cups 2006 and 2010, before becoming World Champions in 2014 . He played 121 matches with Germany (24 goals) and ended also at the second place at the UEFA Euro 2008. He left Bayern to Manchester United with his wife Ana Ivanovic, the tenniswoman. He played 45 matches with ManU and won the FA Cup, the League Cup and the UEFA Europa League 2017 ! After 2 years in England (2015-2017) he moved to USA and joined Chicago Fire. He played there three years and 91 MLS matches (8 goals). At 35 years , Bastian Shweinsteager announced his retirement from professional football. Good luck Basti..
NEW RECORD FOR MESSI !
Lionel Messi scored his first goal of the season last week at the match against FC Sevilla (4-0) and became so the first Player ever in the History of THE LIGA to score one or more goals in 16 consecutive seasons (2004/05 to 2019/20) ! He has scored already 420 goals in 455 Liga matches since 2004.
SUNIL CHHETRI – THE DIAMOND OF INDIAN FOOTBALL
In 1984 India qualified for the AFC Asian Cup after long 20 years. But the tournament showcased Indians another failure. The very same year, a legend of Indian football born to Kharga Chhetri and Sushila Chhetri at Secunderabad. 27 years later he led Indian team to another Asian Cup. India had not much jubilant moments before except they nearly reached FIFA World cup and glorious 50s. After 2002 Indian football saw a hike in their standard and ranking. There were many faces for Indian football but there is only one name as Indian youth’s roles model. That is India’s most celebrated footballer, “Padma Shri” Sunil Chhetri.
His father was played football for Indian army and his mother was a Nepalese decedent and she played for Nepal women’s football with her twin sisters. His childhood days were spent in Gangtok, Sikkim. Then he went to higher studies in Kolkata – India’s football capital. Soon he got contract from the legendary club of the country – Mohun Bagan. He started his professional career in 2002 at the age of 18. That time Bagan was their downward journey, and Sunil cannot do much. But his best display of dynamic strikes opens national U 20 team selection. In 2005 he moved to JCT. There also his scoring did not help the team. But his performance in Santhosh Trophy for Delhi was fabulous one. He scored 2 hat-tricks. This helped him to debut for Indian national team against Pakistan on Jun 12.
Since then he gave his life to Indian football and worked hard more than 100 % in the field.
He moved between clubs to get more chances. JCT, East Bengal and Dempo were his next camps. With Dempo he won his first I league Title. In 2007 he won his first international Title for India. In the Nehru cup he played a vital role to win the trophy after 1997 and scored 4 goals in that tournament. Same year he selected as AIFF Player of the year for the first time.
He started his search to get an overseas contract in 2008. First attempts to get contracts in Briton were unsuccessful after they rejected work permit. But he showed his optimism until got a contract from MLS Club Kansas City Wizards.
His signing to Kansas made him a first ever Indian played for MLS club and 3 rd Indian got a contract outside south Asia. Later the same year he played a dream game against Manchester United in a mid season friendly matches. That was also a record for Indian football. But his commitments for Indian National team caused the end of his overseas career. In 2008, Sunil helped India to win AFC Challenge cup and got a ticket to Asian Cup 2011 after a long 24 years that means his age. In midst of Injury, Sunil shines again in the Nehru Cup victory.
Sunil made a brilliant display in 2011 Asia cup even though India exit in the first round. Against Bahrain and South Korea he scored beautiful goals. After the disappointed Asia Cup, Sunil got the surprise, The Blue Tigers captain’s armband. A well deserved position. Chhetri displayed his high profile scoring skills against Malaysia in a friendly and in 2011 SAFF Cup by setting a record of most goals in one SAFF championship. And again in 2012 Nehru Cup with a 4 goal Captain Chhetri raise India’s prestigious Trophy.
After his Overseas venture, he joined I league club Chirag United and then to his old club Mohun Bagan. But his brief cameos not go well. So again he tried his luck outside India, This time he got 2 year contract from Portugal club Sporting Lisbon. There he started to play with their reserve team in Segundo Liga. Yet Sunil was frustrated due to lack of playing time as he thought and loaned back to Churchill brothers and eventually helped them to win their second ever I league title and his too.
After the season I league was reformed with new clubs including Bengaluru FC. Sunil found his new home in Bengaluru and west block blues got their legendary player. Rest of the season was history. BFC won their maiden I league and Sunil scored 14 goals with 7 assist. In 2014 to improve standards of Indian football and its popularity, AIFF and a private firm arranged a huge venue called Indian super league with many world class footballers like Roberto Carlos, Zico, Forlan and more. In 2015 ISL season Sunil Chhetri joined an ISL club Mumbai FC with a condition that he can loaned back to I league club Bengaluru FC. Throughout his first ISL experience Sunil played well. He scored a Hat trick against Zico’s Goa FC, first ever by an Indian. After the season he scored 7 goals and top scored for Mumbai City FC. That earned him a mega contract from Mumbai City FC with a record as highest paid Indian player. Same year in I league with BFC, he won another title.
Two years later he went back to his old club Bangalore FC .He continued his form in national and international venues. In 2016 with BFC he played final of AFC Cup. And in 2017-18 ISL season he scored 14 goals to write another record, most goals by an Indian in ISL. And he received “Hero of the league” award. In between his constant strikes in international matches for India brings more records to him. He rewritten Indian top – scorer column after every match. In 2017 he helped his team again to enter Asian cup -2019. In 2018, world cup Qualifier against Guam he set another record as the first Indian footballer to score 50 international goals while playing for the national side.
2018 Hero Intercontinental cup saw a different face of Sunil and Indian football. After the victory against Turkmenistan, Sunil Chhetri was so disappointed by poor support from Indian fans. He comes on a live video to request football fans to come forward and support his team. That went viral and many popular Indian celebrities retweeted and shared. This effort comes to an effect. After this incident Indian fans aroused and well coordinated. Many fan groups went active and prominent of them is The Blue Tigers. In the same tournament, final against Kenya saw another record. Sunil’s twin goals in final leveled him with Lionel Messi In goal tally of active footballers. This leaves only Cristiano Ronaldo ahead of them.
The changes in Indian football come to active in 2018 and 2019. ISL grooms many talents. Also National team got many new faces that have the same talents of Sunil Chhetri. This leaves Chhetri to guide this team easy. In 2019 Asia Cup first match against Thailand was absolutely a stunner. The young and experienced Indian team thrashed Thai team and sunil scored 2 goals. In next matches India lost to UAE and Bahrain but India and Sunil stole the hearts of spectators.
In 2019 alone Sunil scored 8 goals for India, this increased his goal tally to 72 and overtake Messi. Same year in 47th Kings Cup he overtake another legendary footballer and his forerunner Bhaichung Bhutia in terms of most international caps for India. As of today he played 112 matches for India scored 72 goals, lead scorer in India and second in world active footballers behind Cristiano Ronaldo and ahead of Lionel messi. He appeared 256 matches for various clubs and scored 131 goals. Also he won many honors including 3 Nehru cup, 2 SAFF cup, 1 AFC Challenge Cup, I intercontinental cup,4 I league titles, 1 Super cup 2 federation cup and 1 ISL. He got another unique record as most hat – trick by an Indian.
He won 6 times AIFF Player of the year award also many other awards including AFC Asian Icon in 2018. In 2011 India honored him by giving him Arjuna Award for his achievements in sports. In 2019 India again honored him by awarding fourth highest civilian award “Padma Shri”. 35 year Sunil Chhetri is not ready to give up his dreams. His ultimate dream is to get qualification for FIFA World cup, which India rejected after they don’t want to play with boots in 1950. After the Plea of Sunil Chhetri to fans, many Indian football supporters have come forward to support their team in stadiums or in social media. Fans are very optimistic to see Chhetri surpassing CR 7 in goals very near future and waiting for his magical legs lead their nation to FIFA World Cup – which values 130 billion dreams.
CAMEROON THROUGH, 2 FORMER OLYMPIANS SINK IN TOKYO 2020 RACE.
Two-time Olympics participants, Indomitable Lionesses of Cameroon got a late goal, Monday, to lose to the Democratic Republic of Congo, 2-1 in Kinshasa, in their 3rd Round, second leg qualifiers for the women’s football event in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. The Lionesses qualify on the strength of their 2-0 first leg win at home in Yaoundé and will next take on the Ivory Coast in the fourth and last round qualifiers. However, former Olympians, Ghana and Nigeria received shock exits at the hands of Olympics aspirants, Kenya and Ivory Coast, respectively, who now move to the final rounds at the end of which two teams from the continent will qualify for Tokyo 2020.
The Cameroon qualification came in late in the game after Norway-based professional, Nchout Ajara scored to put full time scores at 2-1 for the Democratic Republic of Congo, rendering the latter’s victory impotent to qualify the Congolese who had lost the first leg game in Yaoundé, Cameroon, 0-2. The 26-year-old Nchout, nominee for the FIFA Puskas Award 2019, later dedicated the qualification goal to policewoman, Florence Ayafor, brutally slain by gunmen locked in on-going fighting between the Cameroon military and separatist fighters.
The Black Queens of Ghana were fought to a standstill by hosts, the Harambee Starlets of Kenya whose lone goal from the penalty spot gave the Kenyans a one-nil victory. The first leg match had closed on a 0-0 score. Meanwhile, head coach Mercy Tagoe-Quarcoo should certainly be regretting having excluded captain Elizabeth Addo who plays for Jiangsu Suning of China, and striker Jane Ayieyam, when she had summoned 30 Black Queens for the double tie with Kenya.
2018 Olympics group attendants, She-polopolo of Zambia maintained their form defeating Botswana 1-0 to march on 3-0 on aggregates. The Zambians had operated a second-round demolition of Zimbabwe 5-0, obliging the victims not to show up for the second leg match.
Multiple African champions, Super Falcons of Nigeria with 8 World cup participations to their credit were stopped by the Cows of Ivory Coast following a 1-1 draw in Lagos. The Ivorians who are yet to qualify for the Olympic Games, had held the highly rated Nigerians in the first leg game 0-0. They are well remembered for Ange N’Guessan’s goal against Norway which was ranked as one of the ten best goals in the FIFA Women’s World Cup, Canada 2015.
The fixtures for the 4th Round will pit Ivory Coast against Cameroon, and Kenya against Zambia.
100 INTERNATIONAL CAPS FOR NEYMAR !
Brazilian Star Neymar Junior has reached last week the 100 international caps with National team of Brazil against Senegal. He has scored 61 goals and made 42 Assists in this 100 games , winning 70 matches with 20 draws and only 10 defeats. At 27 years old, Neymar is ahead of Pele (92 caps), Maradona (91 caps) at the same age. He began in the Brazil Team at 18 years, 6 months and 5 days, so he can beat all the Brazil Records. Cafu (142 matches) holds the record for caps and Pele ( 77 ) the record of goals. He is already third behind Ronaldo (62 goals) and Pele .
In his club career with FC Santos, FC Barcelona and Paris SG, he has played until now 474 matches, scored 296 goals and made 152 assists ! A fantastic statistic in the Football’s World .