Sunil Chettri, also the third highest goal scorer in international football, took to social media, saying "To all of you, who have lost hope or don’t have any hope for Indian football, we request you to come and watch us at the stadium. Abuse but make us feel relevant."
Cricketing stars like Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Krunal Pandya and tennis superstar Sania Mirza led an online campaign to support Indian Football team in response to Indian team captain, Sunil Chettri's emotional message on social media.
Sania Mirza, said in her tweet, Legend, Can I have a ticket please?. To which Chhetri responded by saying "Only if you promise to sort me out with some when you're playing next!.
Earlier, India - ranked 97th in the world - beat Chinese Taipei 5-0 in the opening match of the Intercontinental Cup that took place in Mumbai. The opening match on Friday attracted an attendance of fewer than 3,000 spectators.
This is nothing but a small plea from me to you. Take out a little time and give me a listen. pic.twitter.com/fcOA3qPH8i
— Sunil Chhetri (@chetrisunil11) June 2, 2018
The 33-year-old captain, who is the third highest goal scorer in international football among active players just behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, pleaded his fans to show some support on the ground and not just on social media. He said "To all of you, who have lost hope or don’t have any hope for Indian football, we request you to come and watch us at the stadium. Abuse but make us feel relevant. I mean it’s not fun to criticise and abuse on the Internet. Come to the stadium, do it on our face, scream at us, shout at us, abuse us, who knows one day we might change you guys, you might start cheering for us". The footballer said that abuse if necessary, but show some involvement in the game.
In support of the Indian Football team, Indian cricket captain, Virat Kohli said that "To be called a proud sporting nation, we must accept and support all the sports equally." Tennis superstar Sania Mirza supported the footballer asking for tickets to India's matches. Indian cricket all-rounders Suresh Raina and Krunal Pandya also showed support to the team. Suresh Raina tweeted "Come let’s support our captain and Indian Football for the amazing efforts and progress, they truly deserve it!!!"India will next play Kenya on Monday in Mumbai and will play New Zealand on June 7.