Don't know when will be my last game for India, says Sunil Chhetri
Bengaluru: India skipper and mercurial striker Sunil Chhetri on Friday played down the talks about his retirement saying he has not put any timeline for himself to bid adieu to the game.
Chhetri is 38 but still continues to be the spearhead of Indian attack, evidenced by the five goals he netted in the ongoing SAFF Championship from three matches.
"I don't know when my last game for the country is going to be. It derives from the fact that I have never had long-term targets, I think about next match, next 10 days. It (retirement) may come at a day when probably I don't want to, as there are a lot of things, and I will be done. Till that time, I never think about it," Chhetri said on the eve of India's semifinal against Lebanon.
Chhetri, the second highest goal-scorer from Asia with 91 goals, said he has set some parameters for himself to determine about hanging his boots.
"Generally, there are some parameters that I think about... whether I am contributing to the team or not, whether I am able to score goal or not, training as hard as I want or not. These are some of the markers that will tell me whether I am good for this team or not. The day I see that it is not there, I am done, I am gone because there is not any other motivation for me to play.
"But sadly, I can't tell whether it (retirement) is in one year or six months. Fortunately or unfortunately my family is also guessing this, and whenever they mention this, jokingly, I tell my stats to them. The day I am finished with my petrol or diesel or electric or whatever I am done," said Chhetri.
Chhetri said Lebanon are a tough side and taking them for granted might backfire. He did not read too much into India's 2-0 victory over Lebanon in the recent Intercontinental Cup final.
"Lebanon is a tough side. We have already played them twice. I'm pretty sure they have the same feeling about us and trying to stay calm. We did our best to recuperate after so many games in such short time," said Chhetri.
India's assistant coach Mahesh Gawli said the team is motivated and ready for the big test against Lebanon.
"Lebanon is a good side and we are prepared for the fight. The boys are motivated, the boys are committed, focused and will continue to the show the same metal which we showed in the previous matches," said Gawli.