Remaining injury free throughout ISL important: Sunil Chhetri

Mumbai, Sep 26 (IANS) Indian Super League (ISL) franchise Mumbai City FC’s striker Sunil Chhetri believes staying fit and injury-free throughout the tournament will be the primary aspect of any footballer participating in it.

The second season of ISL starts on October 3.

The Indian national team captain, Chhetri was bought by Mumbai City FC in the Indian players auction and the 31-year-old feels the squad, filled with top international players, will help not only help the Indians but also the foreign players.

“I am happy to be part of ISL for the first time. Popular and big names are in the squad and I am looking forward to play as a combined unit. We had a good training in Dubai. The main thing we have to keep in mind is to remain injury free and be fit for the entire ISL,” Chhetri told reporters here on Saturday.

“Having top foreign players in the squad will surely help the Indians to learn a lot. The young foreign players will also get to learn from the senior players,” he said.

The club finished second from last in the inaugural season and Chhetri believes the strong team powered by some good performance this season will bring joy in the faces of the fans.

“The Indian players will get ample opportunity to rub shoulders with top players. I am happy that we have a strong squad and most important thing to achieve success we have to be happy and being happy and confident takes one closer to victory. We will put up a performance to bring joy in faces of the fans,” he said.

Speaking about the aspect of transferring advice to the young players, he said, “The only way we can transfer advice to the young players is about us doing the right thing and eventually the young players will learn from it.”

Former French international Nicolas Anelka after playing as a player in the first season has taken an added responsibility of being the manager of the club. Speaking on being the club’s marquee-player-cum manager, the striker said he is up for the new challenge.

“This is the first time I will be playing and also managing the club. I will try to give my best in the pitch and help Mumbai win the crown. I hope we will score a lot of goals and most important is to defend well and not conceded goals,” he said.

Speaking about the pre-season training in Dubai, the former French footballer said, “The pre-season was hard work and it was hot out there. We trained well and won couple of matches there and lost one. We as a squad are waiting to get on the field and give our best.”

A promising forward in the side, Andre Moritz, who has scored the only hat-trick in the league said there will not be any pressure coming into the league.

“There is no pressure on me; I want to keep my feet on the ground. Want to score something more than a hat-trick. I think Indian players are talented and hardworking guys. I hope in five to ten years India will be a big name in world football,” he said.

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