Stimac expects packed Salt Lake Stadium to say goodbye to Chhetri in June 6 match

Bhubaneshwar: Indian football team head coach Igor Stimac expects fans from all over the country to throng the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata during the country’s World Cup qualification match against Kuwait on June 6, which will also be the last international match for talismanic captain Sunil Chhetri.

The match against Kuwait will mark the end of Chhetri’s glittering 19-year international career during which he became India’s top goal-scorer with 94 strikes. He will leave the scene as India’s most-capped player after competing in 151 matches at the end of his swansong contest.

A win against Kuwait will also put India in a strong position to make it to the third round of the World Cup qualifiers for the first time in its history.

“Having in mind the importance of the game – with us being perhaps only a win away from qualifying for the third round for the first time, and it being Sunil Chhetri’s farewell game – we expect the Salt Lake Stadium to be packed,” Stimac said.

“I am sure that our supporters will reach Kolkata from all parts of India to help our boys win the game and say thanks and goodbye to Sunil. I am very confident it’s going to be emotional and hopefully, we will find a way to celebrate together after the final whistle,” he said in a release from the All India Football Federation.

The team has been in training camp here for about two weeks. The first week was primarily about increasing fitness as the players approached the finish of a demanding season. It consisted of many physical exams and aerobic exercises.

“The boys are doing well. It has been proven more than once that a long camp always helps us. We are working on various aspects of the game, both offensive and defensive,” said the head coach.