ANI Photo | “We are at the right stage”: Sunil Chhetri ahead of India’s FIFA WC qualifier match

Talking about India’s upcoming FIFA World Cup qualifier match against Kuwait on Thursday, skipper Sunil Chhetri kept faith in his team and said “We are prepared.”
The 39-year-old footballer also accepted that they are in a strong group in the World Cup qualifiers.
“I think we are at the right stage. This team probably has a strong side. Also, I must admit that we are in a strong group. Some really good sides are clubbed with us. But I think we are prepared, barring a few injuries here and there. It’s a team that has played together for some time. And a lot of youngsters are there. Yes, we look good,” Chhetri said as quoted by AIFF’s official website.
In the World Cup 2026 qualifiers round, India have drawn alongside Qatar, Kuwait, and Afghanistan. The ‘Blue Tigers’ need to secure a top-two spot to advance to the next round.
Talking about India’s preparation ahead of their upcoming match, Chhetri said that the team is more prepared than before. He added that the World Cup qualifiers are happening at a time when a lot of players have a decent amount of game time under their belts.
“I think it is just the morale of the team, or what has happened in the last six, eight months. A lot of boys have taken their places in the team. And that is why we are probably more prepared. Also, the World Cup qualifiers are happening at a time when a lot of us have a decent amount of game time under our belts. all these things do matter. Over and above, we played Kuwait twice a few months back, so we have better knowledge of them, though it works on both sides. We have played Qatar at least thrice in the last three years, which again helps. And we always know Afghanistan. We have played them enough,” he added.
When asked about India’s injury concerns before the start of the qualifiers, he added that it will take a lot of focus away from the players who are going to replace them.
“I think I want to restrain myself from talking about the injuries because I think a lot of importance has been given to the injuries of some of the team members. I love them. They know it and I’ll miss them. But it’s done. It’s gone. I’ve made peace with it that they’re not going to be here. Otherwise, it will take a lot of focus away from the boys who are going to replace them. We always say that we are a team rather than a bunch of individuals. Whoever is here will have to play and make sure that we give a good account of ourselves,” he added.
India has never qualified for the FIFA World Cup. Since 1990, India have regularly participated in the qualifiers round of the tournament, but could never make it to the final round.

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