Mumbai, June 11: Several sporting and entertainment personalities, including Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli and Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan led the congratulatory messages for the triumphant football team which beat Kenya 2-0 to win the Intercontinental Cup here on Sunday.
Captain Sunil Chhetri on Sunday scored a brace to take his tally to 64 goals for the country as India prevailed over their African counterparts to clinch the four-nation meet.
“Champions!!!! Another stellar performance from our captain @chetrisunil11 and the entire team last night. This will surely provide a much needed boost for @IndianFootball. Keep up the spirit boys,” Kohli tweeted on Monday.
Kohli had previously supported Chhetri’s emotional plea where he urged fans to come to the Mumbai Football Arena and root for them.
Amitabh wrote on Twitter: “Congratulations Indian Football Team for winning the Hero International tournament beating Kenya 2-0; the defending in the 2nd half was astounding.”
His son, Abhishek, who owns Chennaiyin FC in the Indian Super League (ISL), also thanked the fans who turned up at the stadium: “Champions!!!!Well done @IndianFootball for a great win. And well done to the supporters that turned up and sang throughout. Unbelievable atmosphere!”
Ranveer Singh said: “So proud of the boys in blue! Took it all the way ! @chetrisunil11 leading from the front and bringing glory to @IndianFootball ! Brilliant ! #Champions #JaiHind #INDvKEN.”
Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar, who also backed Chhetri after his video message, said this victory was thoroughly deserved.
“Splendid performance from the #MenInBlue. Keep it up, @chetrisunil11 and the @IndianFootball team. You guys totally deserved this victory. Our support will always continue to be with you,” Tendulkar wrote on Twitter.
India thrashed Chinese Taipei 5-0 and Kenya 3-0 before losing to New Zealand 1-2 in the group games.
“Thank you @chetrisunil11 for giving the country so much to cherish. You were inspirational and I am sure this #IntercontinentalCup victory will help in ensuring that you guys play in a jam packed stadium . Congratulations,” tweeted Virender Sehwag.
Chhetri finished as the tournament’s top-scorer netting a total of eight goals in four matches.
There was more praise for Chhetri, who equalled Lionel Messi in the number of international goals (64) with only Cristiano Ronaldo above them (81).
“Congratulations to the @IndianFootball team on winning the #IntercontinentalCup finals. @chetrisunil11 led by example and this win will go a long way in helping the popularity of the sport. #INDvKEN,” tweeted former batsman VVS Laxman.
Tennis star Sania Mirza tweeted: “What a victory!! And what a feeling .. congratulations to you and all the boys .. onwards and upwards.”
Union Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore also congratulated the side. “What a wonderful day for @IndianFootball team and the fans across nation. India defeated Kenya 2-0 to lift the #IntercontinentalCup. Captain @ChetriSunil11 led from front brilliantly again. Well done team. India is Proud of you all. #INDvKEN.”
Bollywood actress Preity Zinta said: Back from my Sunday morning hike & super thrilled that #India won the #IntercontinentalCup ! Yeahhhh Here’s me wearing my blue shirt & supporting @IndianFootball Congrats @chetrisunil11 & to all the #Boysinblue #INDvKEN #BackTheBlue #Victory #Jaihind #Goal #Ting.”
Olympic 2000 bronze medal winning weightlifter Karnam Malleswari noted: “The progress @indianfootball has made over the last couple of years is exceptional.”
India will take part in the AFC Asian Cup next year and this competition was part of their preparations for the top continental meet. IANS