Fingers crossed for Sunil in Coventry trials

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> One has to wait and see whether or not he makes it to the Coventry City team but Chetri will play first major trial at the English League Championship club

Updated: January 28, 2009 17:34 IST
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New Delhi:

He has been there and done that. Seven years after Bhaichung Bhutia returned from England and Bury FC with not so happy memories, it is Sunil Chetri's turn to try his luck on the British soil.

One has to wait and see whether or not he makes it to the Coventry City team but as Chetri goes on first major trial at the English League Championship club on Thursday, he definitely has the Indian football fraternity praying for him.

"I hope things work out for Sunil," Bhutia said. "It would interest youngsters in looking beyond India and ultimately it they manage it, they can contribute immensely to the national team set up," said the India and Mohun Bagan skipper.

Asked what kind of a problem Chetri could face in England, Bhutia, who has spend three seasons there, said, "The weather could be a deterrent. It is very cold there now." Chetri trained with the Coventry City squad for two days at it Ricoh Arena Stadium and has a full work out tomorrow with the playing XI.

One who has seen Chetri grow in front of his eyes, Renedy Singh is eager to see the frontman strike gold.

"This is a very, very good thing that can happen to him and Indian football. Coventry City has a lot of history. If Sunil make it that will be great," said Renedy, who has played six years alongside Chetri, from Mohun Bagan to JCT and now East Bengal.

Renedy feels a lot of credit should go to national coach Bob Houghton, who has made a positive change to the mindset.

"Sunil has got matured a lot under Bob. Young players watching him will be keen to take up football which ultimately will be good for the game in the country," said the national and East Bengal midfielder adding ruefully, "I wish I was in my early 20s."

Chetri's coach at JCT, Sukhwinder Singh, who also had a profound role in shaping the striker's career ever since he switched to the club from Mohun Bagan as a teenager, felt the trials are a good sign of things to come.

"It surely will motivate others to try their wares and that can only be beneficial to our football. We just hope that he makes it," said the veteran JCT handler.

Chetri is one among the current crop of Indian players who want to test their skills abroad.

Midfielder Steven Dias, goalkeeper Subrata Pal, defender Gourmangi Singh too are looking to foreign shores.

"Sunil's trial at Coventry is the best thing that can happen to Indian football. It's been some time since Bhaichung bhai went and played in England," said Gourmangi.

"It is a dream come true for Sunil. We are all praying that he makes it," the India and Churchill Brothers central defender said.

"I too want to give it a try. I don't want to end my career with a regret that I never tried," said Gourmangi, who too has got an offer to appear for trials at a Major League Soccer club.

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