Virat Kohli Dubs Sunil Chhetri Winner 'Mindblowing', Congratulates Team For SAFF Cup Triumph
India defeated Afghanistan 2-1 to clinch the SAFF Cup for the seventh time. Sunil Chhetri and Jeje Lalpekhlua scored for the hosts after Zubayr Amiri gave the defending champions the lead. India's Test captain Virat Kohli congratulated Chhetri for the winner.
India Test captain Virat Kohli congratulated his football counterpart Sunil Chhetri for his "mindblowing" winner that helped India beat Afghanistan in the final for a seventh South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Cup title in Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday. (SAFF Cup: Jeje Lalpekhlua, Sunil Chhetri Inspire India to Victory over Afghanistan)
Kohli congratulated the Indian team and made a special mention of Chhetri, who ended the tournament as the most valuable player for his three goals and four assists. (Sunil Chhetri Asks For Patience After Poor FIFA World Cup Campaign)
India came back from a goal down through strikes from Jeje Lalpekhlua and Chhetri, who scored an extra time winner, to avenge their 2013 defeat in the SAFF Cup final to Afghanistan. (Afghans Warned Against Joyful Gunfire Ahead of South Asian Football Federation Cup final)
The Indian skipper, who co-owns FC Goa in the Indian Super League (ISL), is a known football fan and he didn't hide his elation at India winning the SAFF Cup for the seventh time.
Chhetri thanked Kohli and wished him luck for the India's tour of Australia that starts on January 12.
@imVkohli Thank you skipper,I'm certain our boys won't need any extra time to get the job done in Australia.All the very best.- Sunil Chhetri (@chetrisunil11) January 3, 2016
The Indian cricket team will play five One-day internationals (ODI) and three Twenty20s in their tour Down Under.
Coach Stephen Constantine on Cloud Nine
Following India's win coach Stephen Constantine was all praise for his team and dubbed the win as "one of the best achievements in my coaching career."
"Everybody connected with Indian football and we won against all odds. They (Afghanistan) thought that we would push into the attack, but we knew what we were doing."
"We had to be on our toes at all times and everybody worked their socks-off and functioned as a unit. At the end of the day we won and that is what matters."
Constantine, not a great fan of the ISL that does little to lift India's players, also dedicated the SAFF Cup win to "Indian football and the fans".
"I am not a one man band. This trophy is for all of us right from to lads to the fans. It belongs to everybody," Constantine said.
"We should all stand up for Indian football."
Chhetri Praises his Teammates
Chhetri spoke of the win fondly and credited his younger teammates for the record triumph.
"It gives me immense joy to be crowned champions," said Chhetri.
"It is not easy to win a tournament with a young side and we did that. I told the boys that we should not lose today, no matter what as if we did, Afghanistan would be champions for their entire lives."
Chhetri thanked the fans for their support and dedicated the win to his striking partner Robin Singh, who was ruled out of the tournament before the semifinals due to a knee injury.
"The fans were wonderful today. They cheered for us even when we were a goal down and that gave us motivation to win the match. I want to dedicate this win to Robin Singh, as it was really unfortunate that we lost him."