India national team skipper and talisman, Sunil Chhetri has reiterated that qualifying for the 2023 AFC Asia Cup is the least they can do and that the whole squad need to put their best foot forward in the competition.
Chhetri who missed India’s recent international friendlies due to injury is currently making use of the off-season to heal his niggles, though he is keen to get to peak fitness ahead of the all-important third round of the 2023 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers in June, which is scheduled later this year.
“It is the qualifiers for a tournament which is very very important to us. We’ve done decently well in the last (2019) one. And the least we have to do as a nation is to qualify (for the main event). We need everyone, whoever is going to be at the camp, at our best and putting the best foot forward,” he said as quoted by Indian Super League’s official website.
“It’s very very important (AFC Asian Cup). It’s beyond me, it’s about the whole team. We saw what exactly it did to our confidence, the way we played and the way we think about ourselves. When you go and play in the AFC Asian Cup, it’s the biggest tournament for Asian teams, (it helps) to gauge ourselves against the best in Asia,” the striker added.
The Blue Tigers have been drawn in Group D alongside Cambodia, Afghanistan and Hong Kong and will start their campaign on June 8, with all the games scheduled to take place at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata.