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Asian Cup qualification: Chhetri drops retirement hint; says 'playing my last games'

Indian talisman, Sunil Chhetri, adds that a FIFA ban on the country in the aftermath of the SC's ruling to oust Praful Patel as AIFF President would be 'catastrophic'.

football Asian Cup qualification Sunil Chhetri drops retirement hint; says 'playing my last games' snt
Kolkata, First Published Jun 3, 2022, 7:07 PM IST

Indian legendary striker Sunil Chhetri on Friday dropped yet another hint that his retirement is not far away, saying a FIFA ban on the country in the aftermath of the Supreme Court's ruling to oust Praful Patel as AIFF president would be catastrophic as he is playing his "last games". 

The 37-year-old's retirement has been a matter of speculation for some time now, and he has said on many occasions that his illustrious career will come to an end soon. 

"No matter what is happening on that front, I hope it is under control. The country does not get a ban," the iconic India captain said during a media interaction ahead of the Asian Cup qualifiers final round on June 8. 

Also read: Sunil Chhetri, Ivan Vukomanovic all-praise for Reliance Foundation Development League

"Because, that will be catastrophic, not just for the whole country but for me, because I'm 37. I'm playing my last games. You never know when there's a last game for you. "So yes... I was scared when the headlines came. It affects you. But with my limited knowledge, when you go into it, you understand that it is not that dangerous and things will subside," he added. 

Patel was thrown out of office by the Supreme Court in a May 18 ruling as he had exceeded his tenure as All India Football Federation President. His third term in office was to end in December 2020. Still, he clung to an SC case, which remained pending since 2017, to extend his executive committee's term while refusing to hold elections until the top court settled the issue of a new constitution. 

There were fears in some quarters that the SC ruling could lead to FIFA imposing a ban on India and stripping the country of the hosting rights of the Under-17 Women's World Cup in October. A joint team from FIFA and AFC is slated to visit India to "understand the current situation". 

Chhetri made his international comeback after more than six months of injury lay-off during India's 0-2 defeat against Jordan in Doha on May 29, their last preparatory outing ahead of the Asian Cup Qualifiers. 

(With inputs from PTI)

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