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Sunil Chhetri goes down memory lane

Picks the victorious 2015 SAFF Championship campaign as his favourite

Indian football talisman Sunil Chhetri says he shared the best rapport with former captain Bhaichung Bhutia and striker Jeje Lalpekhlua on the field, thanks to their playing “combination” and “understanding”.

The 37-year-old Chhetri is set to appear in his fifth SAFF Championship and before its kick off, he took a walk down the memory lane and picked his favourites from the tournament during a chat with the AIFF.

Asked with whom he has shared the best relationship on and off the field, Chhetri said, “As I have played with so many players, it has kept changing. But I am quite fortunate with whom I have enjoyed my relationship on and off the field. If I stick purely to the pitch, I will pick Bhaichung da (Bhutia) and Jeje (Lalpekhlua), and it has more to do with my combination and understanding with them.

“But if it’s a mix, and the proximity which we share then it has to be Eugeneson Lyngdoh. Despite him playing for a very short time, I am extremely fond of him, and we are very close. But then I am close to everyone.”

When asked which has been his favourite SAFF Championship so far, he picked the 2015 edition.

“I will pick the one which we won in Kerala in the 2015-16 edition. The rivalry that we had with Afghanistan in the final, and the build-up to it was simply majestic.

“Jeje’s goal in the final against Afghanistan in 2015-16 in Thiruvananthapuram will always be my favourite. It was an extremely tough match, and we were 0-1 down despite having some good chances. The goal was extremely significant, and the manner the superstar flicked it in was sublime.

“Most importantly, it came at the right moment. If we hadn’t scored then, maybe we would have panicked and the result could have been different. We eventually went on to win 2-1.”

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