After the Bharatiya football team won a record eighth SAFF Championship title on Saturday (October 16), the captain of the team Sunil Chhetri lauded the young players for the team's victory.
In the final of the SAFF Championship, Bharat defeated Nepal 3-0 as Chhetri (49th minute), Suresh Singh (50th) and Sahal Abdul Samad (90th) were the goal scorers for the team in this historic game.
"Look at the youngsters -- it feels good for all of them. It's all due to their hard work. We were here for 20 days till the final, staying on an island, riding the waves every day for practice sessions, and matches," Chhetri said in a release from All India Football Federation.
"We made it special as we were not so good in the first two games. It was tough from there to come up and play the way we did," added Chhetri.
After the win, Chhetri took to social media and wrote, "Didn't start like we should have, but ended exactly how we wanted to. Proud of this bunch and the way we got things on track."
Throughout the tournament, Chhetri scored five out of Bharat's eight goals, however, he was all praise of the other two Bharatiya goal-getters in the final clash -- Suresh Singh and Sahal Abdul Samad.
"I enjoyed watching that, Sahal. Suresh, of all the things you copy from me, this is up there. Make it a habit," said the captain.
Sahal, on his part, said it was an "unbelievable" moment and "a miracle". "I don't know what happened inside the box. I came in for the last 4-5 minutes. My teammates have been working hard, it all goes to them," he said.
"But I just don't remember what happened inside the box. I got it and went in. This is an amazing feeling."
Chhetri also equalled Lionel Messi with his 80th international strike in the final clash as he opened the scoring in the second half for Blue Tigers. It was his fifth goal in as many outings during this campaign to finish at the top of the scoring chart.