Sunil Chhetri recovers from coronavirus

New Delhi: Indian football team captain Sunil Chhetri, who earlier tested positive for coronavirus, on Sunday announced that he has got an all-clear from the recent tests.

“Got an all-clear from the tests and couldn’t be happier to get back on the pitch (I missed it bad!). Grateful for all the kind messages that came in, wishing me a speedy recovery. Importantly, I’d want every one to stay safe and mask up at all times,” Chhetri tweeted.

Chhetri had tested positive for coronavirus on March 11. “In a not-so-happy update, I’ve tested positive for COVID-19. In better news, I feel fine as I continue my recovery from the virus and should be back on a football pitch soon,” Chhetri had tweeted.

“No better time to keep reminding everyone to continue taking all the safety precautions always,” he had added.

On Saturday, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) shortlisted Chhetri among 13 strikers to be picked for the three positions in the all-time AFC Cup XI by fans.

“Three places remain in our All-time AFC Cup XI, with some of Asian football’s most iconic goal scorers to vie for a place in our fans’ dream selection,” the continental body had said in a statement.

“With a staggering 344 AFC Cup goals between them, we’ve selected the cream of the crop, including players hailing from Europe, Africa and South America, in our star-studded shortlist, now it’s up to you to decide the final make-up of our ultimate team,” it had added.

The 36-year-old India skipper has played in four editions of the AFC Cup and has 18 goals under his name. He has participated in the competition with different clubs. He featured in his first AFC Cup with Churchill Brothers in 2013. He then played for Bengaluru FC in the AFC Cup in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

His best achievement was to captain Bengaluru FC to a runners-up finish in the 2016 AFC Cup, losing to the Air Force Club of Iraq in the final.

“An iconic figure of the modern Indian game, and a player whose 72 national team goals have given him an international profile, Sunil Chhetri has also regularly shown his ample quality on the continental club stage in the AFC Cup,” AFC had said on Chhetri.

“Despite not appearing in the competition until his late twenties, Chhetri’s impact has lasted the best part of a decade,” it had added.

Apart from Chhetri, 12 other top strikers from different countries feature in the list including Hammadi Ahmed, Bienvenido Maranon, Ali Ashfaq, Aleksandar Duric, Mohamad Ghaddar, Mahmoud Shelbaieh, Amjad Radhi, Rico, Issam Jemaa, Abdelhadi Al Maharmeh, Raja Rafe, Manuchehr Dzhalilov.