New Delhi, April 12 (IANS) India football captain Sunil Chettri Friday admitted that he was depressed at not getting enough chances with Sporting Lisbon B team and hence decided to return home on a loan deal with I-League favourites Churchill Brothers.
Chettri decided to head back home after spending just 46 minutes on field with the B team in the Liga de Honra, second division league, during his eight-month-long stay with the Portuguese club.
“I am not 19 any more. I went there with a mindset that I would be playing regularly. But I didn’t get much chance to play. It is not good reflection on me being the national captain. I was getting depressed when I didn’t get to play,” Chettri told reporters here.
Chettri said he did have a word with B team coach Oceano Andrade da Cruz at the lack of chances he was getting but things didn’t work out for him.
“I did have a word with the coach. But things were a bit complicated because first team’s players, who were out of form or coming from an injury, used to get preference since they had to get back to form. I used to train hard for five days but on the sixth day I had to miss the match,” Chettri said on the sidelines of a promotional event by Heineken.
Chettri signed a three-year contract in July last year that would keep him with the Lisbon club till June 2014. Chettri said he would assess the deal once the I-League gets over.
“I have a three-year deal with them. But now I am focussed on the I-League. Let it get over and than I will assess the deal,” he said.
Chettri sounded confident that Churchill Brothers would lift the I-League title. There is a five-point difference between Churchill (47) and second placed East Bengal (42).
“Churchill have four matches in hand, East Bengal also have same number of games. But we are more interested in what we can do and not what East Bengal can do. I am desperate to win this title,” he said.
Chettri, the third Indian to ply trade in an overseas league, has been desperately trying to make his mark in overseas clubs without any success.
He had an unfruitful stint with American Major League Soccer (MLS) club Kansas City Wizards in 2010. Chettri left after spending much of the time on the bench in Kansas.
The next year, Chettri appeared for unsuccessful six-day trials at Glasgow Rangers and later rued the lack of “enough opportunities” and termed his short stay there as “disappointing”.
He had a brief stint with I-League clubs Chirag United and Mohun Bagan before finally signing for Sporting Lisbon in July last year as a free agent.
Chettri, a former Kansas City striker, found it hard to break into the ranks and spent most of the time warming the bench in the Liga de Honra, which is the second division Portuguese league. Chetri never got a start in any of the 15 matches this season so far.
Chettri came on as a substitute thrice and stayed on the bench on 12 occasions. In all, he managed just 46 minutes in three matches.
The 28-year-old made his debut in a 2-0 win against Freamunde coming on as a substitute in the 87th minute. His next match was in Sporting B’s 3-2 win over Braga B during which he played for just three minutes after he came on as a substitute in the 88th minute.
Chettri spent 39 minutes, the most during his stay at Lisbon, in his team’s 2-3 loss to Uniao Madeira that was his last appearance in December.