Sunil Chhetri backs AFC Asian Cup hosting bid: ‘No bigger honour’

Sunil Chhetri backs AFC Asian Cup hosting bid: ‘No bigger honour’

INDIA CAPTAIN, top scorer and most capped player Sunil Chhetri has given his backing behind the AIFF’s bid to host the 2027 AFC Asian Cup.

The Federation made the announcement on Wednesday.

The other nations who have expressed an interest or desire in bidding are Iran, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, India and the Saudis have not hosted the tournament but the others have both hosted the tournament twice.

Mr Chhetri told aiff.com: “There is no bigger honour and privilege than playing for your country and for our nation to host the AFC Asian Cup 2027 would be even bigger.

“I think it will be best gift for the fans and everyone in the country.

“We have already had the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2017 in India and it was such a huge success and you can see the prodigiies from that tournament do so well.”

India will also host the 2022 U17 women’s World Cup.

The tournament was scheduled for this year but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

India did not enter the first Asian Cup in Hong Kong in 1956.

They first qualified for the 1964 edition in Israel but lost to the hosts in the final.

India would qualify for the 1984 tournament in Singapore, 2011 in Qarar, and 2019 in the UAE, but failed to exit the group stage on all three occasions.

India have drawn three and lost two of the five games in qualification for the 2023 tournament in China.

The team can still qualify but cannot win the group.

Qatar, Oman, Afghanistan and Bangladesh are the other sides in the group.

With regards to the bid, AIFF President Praful Patel told Sportstar: “Our chances are bright. Qatar is hosting the next World Cup and Saudi Arabia is a leading football nation in the continent. That does not mean we don’t have a chance.

“As you are aware, China is hosting the next edition of the Asian Cup (in 2023). So why can’t we impress the AFC to give us an opportunity to host the event? After all, we got to host the 2017 FIFA under-17 World Cup and two other major events in 2022 (the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup and the AFC Women’s Asian Cup) by outbidding other contenders.”

 

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