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‘The day that happens, the country will go mad’ – Sunil Chhetri comments about India qualifying for Football World Cup

Nov 14, 2023

India is set to face Afghanistan, Kuwait, and Qatar in the 2026 Football World Cup Qualifiers round. To advance further in the qualifying round, India must claim a top-two spot. 

Indian Football legend Sunil Chhetri imagined the day India would qualify for the Football World Cup. The star player hoped that India would qualify for the tournament soon. Speaking about the same in an interview with Federation of International Football, Chhetri said “The day that happens, the country will go mad. As an Indian, it’s going to be one of the best days of my life. There are so many people like me who can’t wait to see that day, and I just hope it comes soon for us.” 

Chhetri added that the feat would mean a lot for India. If that happens, Chhetri said that he would never forget that moment in his life. “It is going to be humongous. The anticipation and hope that it will bring to the entire nation are something that I know I will never forget in my life,” added Chhetri. The Indian player said that he does not have any long-term goal towards qualifying for the World Cup, as he is already 39.

By 2027, Chhetri would be 42. “Because I’m 39, I don’t have long-term targets as far as me being on the pitch is concerned. I think about the next three months, and then the next three months, and then we see how it goes,” said Chhetri. The 39-year-old added that despite age not on his side, he would like to contribute towards the growth of the team.

“Right now, I feel really good physically. I can see that I do contribute to the team, both for my country and my club. As long as I’m enjoying it, I will be here. I don’t know how many days, how many months, how many years that will be. The day I stop enjoying, and the day I can’t contribute, I will be done,” added Chhetri. 

India has not yet qualified for the biggest Football tournament even once. Since 1990, India has been regularly taking part in the qualifying rounds. In the 2026 World Cup qualifying round, India is grouped alongside teams like Kuwait, Afghanistan, and Qatar. In order to enter the next round, India must end the group as one of the top two sides. 

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