Updated June 7th, 2024 at 23:25 IST

Indian Army's Eastern Command Pays Tribute to Sunil Chhetri

Football legend Sunil Chhetri was honoured post India vs Kuwait FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifier match by the Eastern Command of the Indian Army.

Sunil Chhetri | Image: X/@chetrisunil11
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Football legend Sunil Chhetri, who played his last international game against Kuwait in a FIFA World Cup 2026 AFC qualifier second-round Group A match at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (VYBK), was honoured post-match by the Eastern Command of the Indian Army.

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Sunil Chhetri honoured by Eastern Command of Indian Army

Lieutenant General Ram Chander Tiwari UYSM, AVSM, SM, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Command, presented a sparkling memento to Sunil while paying rich tribute to his contribution to the sport.

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Lt. Gen. Tiwari highlighted the retiring Indian legendโ€™s long relationship with the Army, stating, โ€œSunil has always embodied the values of a professional soldier, fighting for his country till the very end and against all odds. Athletes like him are role models for the youth of this country, and the Indian Army is proud of its long association with such a football legend. As the son of an Army man, Sunil has made the entire Army fraternity proud with his attitude, commitment, and dedication throughout his long and memorable career. We wish him a most fulfilling life after he is done playing the game.โ€

Captain Fantastic and football legend Sunil Chhetri, with his 94 international goals, was the highest active international goal scorer. He has had the backing and support of the Indian Army throughout his journey to becoming a professional footballer.

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His father, K. B. Chhetri, was an officer in the Corps of Electronics and Mechanical Engineers of the Indian Army, and Sunil picked up the game at the Army Public School in Delhi. He then joined the City Football Club, playing in the Durand Cup in the 2001-02 season. Although his team did not progress far, Sunil played all the games and scored a goal, earning his first big break with the legendary Mohun Bagan Club of Kolkata.

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The rest, as they say, is history. Sunil finally won his first and only Durand Cup title to date when he lifted the glittering Durand trophies in its 131st edition in Kolkata at the same VYBK venue.

The Army planned and celebrated the whole occasion in a manner befitting a legend. A combined pipe band of the 14th and 15th Battalions of the Bihar Regiment of the Indian Army played a welcome tribute segment to Sunil Chhetri. The 2.5-minute tune was "Bir Nepali." When Sunil finally exited the stadium, he was escorted by two bagpipers playing "Auld Lang Syne."

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During the emotional felicitation ceremony, Sunil left the podium to bring his wife and parents onto the stage. Two mementos were presented by Lt. Gen. Tiwari to Sunil: first, a customized Celebration Memento made for the occasion, and then the Indian Army Memento. This memento, featuring a number 11 Chhetri jersey in a celebratory pose, is inspired by Sunilโ€™s career, during which he carried the hopes of the tricolour for 19 years on his shoulders. The number 11 and Chhetri in the Indian jersey blue shall be ingrained in Indian football history, celebrating Sunil Chhetri.

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Published June 7th, 2024 at 22:52 IST