Star striker Sunil Chhetri is in doubt for India’s Asian Cup qualifier against Kyrgyzstan as well as the international friendly against Lebanon next month, according to his I-League club Bengaluru FC’s chief executive officer.
In a letter sent to All India Football Federation complaining about the cramped scheduling of the ongoing Federation Cup in Cuttack, Bengaluru FC CEO Parth Jindal has blamed the fixture for Chhetri’s injury.
In making the semifinals of the tournament, Bengaluru FC will be playing their fourth game in six days — a schedule that is detrimental to players’ health to say the least.
“The cramped and unheard of fixture has claimed its first victim in club and national team captain Sunil Chhetri who is certain to miss the rest of the season for us and is also in doubt for the national team for the important games in the coming month,” Jindal said in the letter.
On Friday, Chhetri limped out of Bengaluru FC’s last group match against Mohun Bagan with a suspected muscle tear. He has undergone a scan to determine just how bad his injury could be.
Chhetri is all but ruled out of Federation Cup final scheduled for May 21, if at all Bengaluru make it there.
A Bengaluru FC official said that further scans will be done tomorrow and an update on the seriousness of his condition will be known only after that.
Jindal also criticised the AIFF for choosing Cuttack as the venue for the Federation Cup.
“I am concerned at the thought process behind choosing Cuttack as the venue for the Federation Cup. The 4pm kick-offs have seen teams take to the pitch in temperatures as high as 42 degrees. These conditions are in no way ideal to play quality football and the whole purpose of advertising Indian football is defeated,” he said.
He also ask the AIFF to postpone the final match to a later date — May 24 — if Bengaluru qualify for the title clash.
The ‘Blues’ will also make a trip to Kolkata to face Mohun Bagan in their AFC Cup Group E game midway through the Federation Cup on May 17.