Bhubaneswar: Following team India’s 1-0 triumph against the Vanuatu National Football Team, Captain Sunil Chhetri expressed his joy and appreciation for the sea of fans that turned up at the Kalinga Stadium.
After scoring a crucial late winner for India, the Captain reflected on his relationship with Odisha and urged more fans to come to the stadium to support the Blue Tigers when they take on a Lebanon on 15 June.
India’s clash against Vanuatu saw a multitude of fans gather at the iconic Kalinga Stadium to cheer on the host nation.
Talking about the fans attendance, Skipper Sunil Chhetri said, “I’ll now indulge my greed. The numbers are excellent, but I would love to see more people in the stadium. “
He further added, “I’m asking because the nation is playing, and the boys are giving it their all. Please come if you have the time because the matches are enjoyable, and we are trying our best to make our country proud.
Also supporting the Captain and the national team is Sai Shivdutt, a 24-year-old fan and resident of Bhubaneswar.
He spoke on the thrill of supporting India from the stands and his excitement at watching the tournament unfold at the Kalinga Stadium, “I’ve been to this incredible stadium twice; the first time was during the FIFA Women’s U17 World Cup, and it appears even better and exciting this time. Watching the national team participate here in Bhubaneswar is an honour, and the mood has been very encouraging as the national team has crept closer to the finals.”
Supporting and praising the turnout amongst fans of the game in Odisha, Jt. Secretary, Sports & Youth Services Department, Ranjit Parida who presented the Player of the Match award to Captain Sunil Chhetri said, “International tournaments are often held here but this is a matter of great pride because Odisha has been a strong supporter of Indian football. Odisha fans cheer the loudest whenever the captain or any other national athlete scores. The Indian Team is enabling football to reach out to a larger audience than ever before, and we are pleased that it has been a huge success.”
“Although the Odisha crowd’s level of passion is tremendous, it is not surprising since Indian football is praised so highly in this country and the people of Odisha love sports. In the past, when we hosted the FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup, our national team also drew a large contingent of fans. We will continue to strive to ensure that our community will see and enjoy the best sporting competitions”, he added.
The Hero Intercontinental Cup 2023’s featuring India, Lebanon, Vanuatu, and Mongolia is an example of the state of Odisha’s growing sports culture, as is the energetic environment that has surrounded it. With no question, the state’s warm hospitality and world-class facilities will further its position as India’s sports hub.
Action picks up again when Mongolia will play Vanuatu and Lebanon will play the hosts India on June 15 before the eagerly anticipated final that will be held on June 18.