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All's not well with Chetri in MLS

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By OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
  • Published 27.07.10
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New Delhi: Despite the hype about Sunil Chetri rubbing shoulders with top international stars in the friendly match against Manchester United, all doesn’t seem to be well with the Indian striker in Kansas City Wizard.

According to highly placed sources in the Indian national team, Chetri is desperately trying to leave the MLS club midway through the season and join the national campers, currently undergoing training in Portugal.

“Chetri has called up the national coach Bob Houghton and has requested him to ask the All India Football Federation (AIFF) to get him released from the US club so that he can join the Asian Cup preparatory camp immediately,” said the source. Houghton has already asked the AIFF to try to get the ace striker back as soon as possible.

Sources said Chetri, considered the mainstay of Indian attack, is upset at not being able to make the starting line up of the American club and wants to return to the national side to prepare for the Asian Cup campaign.

Confirming the move, a senior AIFF official told The Telegraph on the condition of anonymity that there is indeed a move to get Chetri released from Kansas City and involve him in the national camp.

“As far as I know, the AIFF is keen to get Chetri back. But, it would not be in a position to pay any compensation to the club or to Chetri’s agent for the release midway through the MLS season,” said the official.

“The federation, however, will definitely pay the player his salary for the number of months he will be in the national camp,” the official added.

While Chetri’s fate hangs in balance, Indian captain Bhaichung Bhutia will be joining the team back in Portugal on August 1.

Diagnosed with thyroid problem, Bhutia was forced to return to India on June 15. He has recovered in the past two weeks and has decided to resume training.