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Never thought ‘I could play for the country’: Sunil Chhetri overwhelmed with approaching 150th match feat

Never thought ‘I could play for the country’: Sunil Chhetri overwhelmed with approaching 150th match feat

Chhetri holds a unique record of scoring at least one goal in his first, 25th, 50th, 75th, 100th, and 125th appearances for the Blue Tigers.

Nearly two decades after making his senior debut against Pakistan, Indian Football Team Captain Sunil Chhetri remains the lynchpin of the Blue Tigers. The skipper is set to make his 150th appearance for the National Team, when India takes on Afghanistan in a do-or-die match in the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers in Guwahati.

Chhetri made his debut for the senior national team on June 12, 2005, during a friendly match against Pakistan in Quetta. He scored India’s goal in the 1-1 draw, beginning a remarkable journey. Since then, he has represented the national team 149 times, securing a record-breaking 93 goals. Renowned as one of the most prolific goal-scorers, the 39-year-old is just behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi as the highest scorer in international football.

Notably, Chhetri holds a unique record of scoring at least one goal in his first, 25th, 50th, 75th, 100th, and 125th appearances for the Blue Tigers. As he approaches his 150th game, fans eagerly anticipate another memorable performance from the legendary striker.

“When I started, it never occurred to me that I could play for the country one day. In fact, even a few days back, I was not aware that I was on the verge of such a record. When you pause and think about it, it’s an unbelievable feat, “ said an overwhelmed Sunil Chhetri in the eve of their crucial game against Afghanistan.

I’m very fortunate, extremely thankful, and highly privileged to be in this state. I think I’m the only one to play 150 games for the country in India. I’m really fortunate that I got such an opportunity,” he added.

Will Sunil Chhetri turn up big for India yet again?

India faces a crucial test in their journey to qualify for the third round of the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers 2026 on Tuesday. All eyes will be on Sunil Chhetri, the man of the hour, as India seeks another heroic performance to secure victory.

The team is currently enduring a challenging phase, having gone five matches without a win or goal. Their recent AFC Asian Cup campaign in January marked the worst run in their history.

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To progress to the third round, India must gather at least five points from their next three World Cup qualifier matches. With upcoming fixtures against Kuwait and Qatar, securing all three points against Afghanistan on Tuesday presents the best opportunity for success.

The team will be aiming to put an end to their winless streak and reignite their World Cup qualification hopes with a strong performance.

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