Chhetri Chants, Gupta’s Stunning Goal, and a 90-Minute Practice Game: An Eventful Training Session for India

The Indian football team’s second training session in Kolkata oozed intensity. It featured an 11-a-side game, Jay Gupta’s stunning goal and some stunning saves from the goalkeepers. As the team prepares for the crucial match against Kuwait, a victory will not only secure a place in the third round of the FIFA World Cup qualifiers for the first time but also, will guarantee direct qualification for the AFC Asian Cup 2027 in Saudi Arabia.

Head coach Igor Stimac and his team are leaving no stone unturned, pushing themselves extra hard in every session to achieve this unprecedented feat. Friday’s session matched the previous day’s intensity, but with a sharper focus on refining the gameplan, as the big match approaches. After 20-30 minutes of warm-ups, the Blue Tigers played a practice game. Highlights included Gupta’s spectacular goal and Lallianzuala Chhangte’s curling shot, which was impressively saved by Amrinder Singh. Although Sunil Chhetri participated in the first-half, he did not play in the second, opting for some jogging laps and a cooling-down instead, before wrapping up the session.

Despite trying to focus on his cool-down routine, Chhetri couldn’t ignore the fans cheering: “Let’s do it, Chhetri.” The supporters urged him to finish his career on a high note against Kuwait. He acknowledged their enthusiasm with a wave, meeting their cheers with a smile.

Also Read: Extended warm-up & Chhetri banter: How Blue Tigers Trained in Kolkata Ahead of Kuwait Clash

Though the practice game was disrupted midway by a swarm of insects, the groundsmen were forced to switch off the floodlights for 10 minutes. Fortunately, the game resumed afterward. Eyes were on Rahim Ali and Vikram Pratap Singh as potential replacements in Chhetri’s absence, and both youngsters performed decently in the practice game.

Mehtab Singh, who landed in Kolkata on May 29 with the team, didn’t attend the training sessions though. The AIFF confirmed on Friday that the defender has left the camp due to personal reasons.


Meanwhile, Kuwait, India’s opponents, arrived in Thailand on May 29 for their final preparations before heading to Kolkata late on June 4. As part of their preparations, Kuwait will play a practice game against a local Thai team.

Also Read: Blue Tigresses go down to Uzbekistan in Tashkent friendly