I just have to be a good example for the players: Chhetri

Guwahati, September 4 () Seeking to lead by example, star forward Sunil Chhetri said Wednesday that the Indian football team is fit and hungry before their first qualifying match for the 2022 FIFA World Cup against Oman .

India, which ranks 103rd, will begin its campaign on Thursday in what is expected to be an Indira Gandhi athletic stadium.

Chhetri, one of the top scorers in international football, said in the pre-match conference: There is great enthusiasm in the team and one really feels the pulse of emotion among the boys. We are eager for the game.

We had an excellent training camp and everyone on the team is fit and hungry. The players are gelling well and responding to what the coach expects from them.

So far, the talisman has scored 71 goals in 111 appearances for the Blue Tigers.

Although most of the players are young, the veteran said everyone is very aware of what is expected of them.

It's a young team, but I don't have to talk to them once. Each player is very aware of what is expected of him and the coach speaks whatever is necessary. I just have to be a good example for the players and will continue to do it every time I'm here, he said.

In 2015, it was Chhetri who scored the only goal for India in a 2-1 loss to Oman in a qualifying match for the 2018 World Cup.

When asked about that exit, he said: We weren't great at that game and we conceded very early. We lost 2-1 and we also had an offside goal.

We certainly hope to do well this time. All the boys are optimistic, especially with many fans expected in the stadium.

On the eve of the Group E match against the team with the 87th place, head coach Igor Stimac stated that his team is well prepared to face the challenge.

The preparations for the game went very well and as a coach, I am happy.

This will be our third campaign and I am happy with the improvement in the team in terms of the levels of understanding of the players and their fitness levels. We are well concentrated and well prepared, he said.

The coach added that the team will look strong and organized in the field.

Our goal tomorrow will be to be strong and organized. In our previous games, we have shown that we can manage good teams and play organized for the full 90 minutes. We may have conceded some goals, but we have shown that we can play better against better opponents, Stimac said. AH AH ATK ATK