Let’s make it memorable for him: Lallianzuala Chhangte

Lallianzuala Chhangte and the Indian National Team (Image: AIFF)

The Indian football team’s first training session in Kolkata was marked by intense warmup drills, shooting and crossing exercises, and the lively banter of Sunil Chhetri, who is set to play his final international game against Kuwait. Local fans cheered their East Bengal and Mohun Bagan heroes as the Blue Tigers prepared for the must-win fixture.

After starting their camp in Bhubaneswar on May 11, the team moved to Kolkata on Wednesday. Coach Igor Stimac, Chhetri, and the players were greeted by reporters and enthusiastic supporters as they arrived. Stimac led a rigorous 40-minute warmup despite the humid conditions, showing no leniency. Chhetri, in high spirits, joked with teammates Chungnunga and Chhangte but withdrew briefly during shooting drills, causing concern. It was later revealed he was just resting after the intense warmup.

Stimac was deeply involved, correcting mistakes to ensure precision. East Bengal and Mohun Bagan players like Subhasish Bose and Vishal Kaith received cheer for their efforts. Fans requested jerseys, which the players promised to provide after the last session. Despite not getting jerseys immediately, fans were delighted as players took selfies with them before leaving.

In a media interaction with the 26-year-old Mumbai City midfielder, Lallianzuala Chhangte, he mentioned about the focus they have ahead of the big clash on June 6th and also how they want to make it special for their skipper. He said, “We had our fun games in the training but we are fully focused on the upcoming match. The best we can do for him (Sunil Chhetri) is to win the match.”


The midfielder from Mizoram looked back at his favourite memory with Sunil Chhetri on the pitch. “I remember the time I gave him an assist during the Intercontinental Cup last year. It was a great goal and a great memorable one for me.”

Senior defender Sandesh Jhingan will be missed in this match against Kuwait. Coach Stimac in the exclusive interview with RevSportz mentioned that Jhingan is the player in the squad who is most difficult to replace. Chhangte shared his views,” Well yeah! We miss him but the ones who are here are taking responsibility and filling the spot really well.” He seemed confident on how the defensive line is shaping up. “Let’s show it on the matchday”, he added.

On further conversations with the media, Chhangte reflected back on his journey with the national team and the advice he received from his captain. He said, “The journey has been very interesting. The first time I played for India, he called me and told me to enjoy the time and do whatever I feel like on the final third.” The last few days with the skipper will be emotional for the talented midfielder. “I look forward. It’s a privilege to play alongside him. I just want to enjoy every single training session, every single moment I spend with him till the game.”

How is mood in the camp after Chhetri announced his retirement announce retirement? Chhangte said: “Everyone is sad. We are going to miss him a lot. Everything he has done for the team and the country is incredible. But looking back at the career he had, the feats he has achieved, we are happy for him.”

On Sunil’s replacement and who will fill his shoes the reply was: “It’s not about taking the role of Chhetri bhai. Once it comes to the national team, it’s about playing as a collective and winning it for the team.” If the team needs him, Chhangte doesn’t mind changing his position for the team. He said, “If the team needs me, I don’t mind playing the number 9 in future. It all depends on the coach.”

“But for now, let’s make 6th June memorable for him”, Chhangte signed off.