SAFF Championship 2021 Final, India vs Maldives: Blue Tigers prepare for the big game

Moments
after
Sunil
Chhetri
was
named
the
Man
of
the
Match
in
India’s
3-1
victory
over
the
Maldives
in
their
last
group
league
match
in
the
SAFF
Championship,
he
walked
up
to
Lalengmawia
and
handed
him
over
his
Man
of
the
Match
Award

a
snazzy
watch.
“This
is
yours.
You
deserve
this
more
than
me,”
Sunil
uttered,
as
Sunil’s
gesture
floored
Lalengwamia.

And
even
before
that
happened,
the
entire
contingent
posed
with
a
jersey
of
Farukh
Choudhary
saying
in
chorus
“We
love
you,
Farukh.”
The
Blue
Tigers
had
also
placed
Farukh’s
jersey
no.
12
on
the
bench
all
throughout
the
match.
And,
Gurpreet
Singh
Sandhu
even
wore
Farukh’s
jersey
at
the
post-match
flash
interview.

“This
is
for
Farukh,”
Gurpreet
stated,
pointing
to
Farukh’s
jersey.
“Unfortunately,
he
sustained
a
bad
injury
and
he
did
have
a
very
valuable
assist
in
the
match
against
Nepal.
It
was
extremely
harsh
that
he
had
to
go
out.
We
want
to
dedicate
it
to
Farukh
and
make
it
worth
it.”

Striker
Farukh
had
suffered
an
ACL
injury
in
the
match
against
Nepal,
and
that
has
ruled
him
out
for
the
rest
of
the
Championship.

The
Blue
Tigers
aren’t
all
about
‘I-me-myself.’ Rather,
the
Blue
Tigers
are
all
about
‘You
and
ourselves.’

The
character
on
display
against
Maldives
was
immense,
that
too
in
front
of
a
packed
stadium.
Courtesy
the
3-1
victory,
the
Blue
Tigers
topped
the
round-robin
format
with
eight
points
staying
the
sole
unbeaten
team
in
the
process.
They
now
meet
Nepal
in
the
final
slated
for
October
16.

The
mood,
however,
in
the
camp
isn’t
much
willing
to
get
into
a
celebration
mode.
The
boys
understand
that
nothing
has
been
won
as
yet,
and
the
next
90
minutes
can
always
be
extremely
cruel.
However,
that
didn’t
stop
them
from
celebrating
Sunil’s
brace,
and
his
“amazing
consistency”.

“He
has
been
such
an
inspiration
in
Indian
Football
and
it’s
amazing
how
he
continues
to
be
at
the
top
of
his
game
so
consistently.
The
manner
in
which
he
conducts
himself
on
and
off
the
pitch
is
so
motivational
for
all
of
us,”
Lalengmawia
stated.

“Whenever
we
get
into
a
crucial
game,
he
raises
the
bar
and
scores
and
makes
it
easier
for
all
of
us.
“It’s
a
blessing
we
have
him
in
the
team

a
real
honour
to
be
playing
with
him,
training
with
him.”

Gurpreet
Singh
Sandhu
added:
“79
goals
in
123
matches
at
the
International
level
doesn’t
come
with
luck.
He
deserves
what
he
has
achieved
as
he
works
extremely
hard
for
all
of
that.
He
says
he
is
going
to
do
it
and
does
it
on
the
field.
What
one
can
learn
from
him
are
his
passion
and
determination.
He
has
been
doing
his
job,
and
in
the
end,
that’s
what
it
all
matters.”

Sunil’s
striking
partner
upfront,
Manvir
Singh,
who
scored
the
opener
against
Maldives
mentioned:
“I
am
very
happy
to
have
done
my
job.
We
are
extremely
motivated.
We
look
forward
to
the
final
and
need
to
recover
in
time
for
the
final.”
The
contingent
had
their
recovery
session
at
the
hotel
premises
and
will
travel
to
Male
tomorrow
(October
15)
for
their
final
training
session
ahead
of
the
final.


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Media

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