No fans means no home advantage, says Sunil Chhetri ahead of ISL

The Indian football captain admits that it’s not easy to follow the strict bio-bubble rules, but Bengaluru FC are doing all they can to stay focused in Goa.

By Rahul Venkat

Indian football team captain Sunil Chhetri is raring to get on the field again after a considerable time out of it.

The striker is training in a bio-bubble with 2018-19 Indian Super League champions Bengaluru FC but admits that the strict rules are tough to get accustomed to.

“This is our third week inside the ISL bio-bubble and I must confess it isn’t easy, but it's needed,” Sunil Chhetri said in a video posted on Twitter.

“We are doing double sessions to try our best to be as fit as possible as a team before the tournament starts… and I am sure everyone is waiting for it to begin, just as I am.”

The COVID-19 pandemic delayed the start of the ISL 2020-21 season. The league is being held in three venues in Goa to shield teams and players from the risk of contracting the coronavirus by reducing travel as much as possible.

With no fans allowed in stadiums, Sunil Chhetri felt that missing them will also be a unique challenge.

“We will not be able to play at the Kanteerava (Bengaluru FC’s home stadium). That is a huge disappointment because our fans travel wherever we play. Not having them will be a big miss,” he told the ISL website.

However, the situation also means that it will be a more level playing field for all teams, with no ‘home advantage’ as such to speak of.

“You can argue that FC Goa might have an advantage, but they are not going to have their fans,” explained Chhetri.

Bengaluru FC begin their ISL 2020-21 campaign against FC Goa on November 22 and the legendary striker has rallied his team to stick together, especially in these times.

“The onus is on us to remain fit and give the coach the whole squad to choose from. We are going to need every one of them, more so this year. We have to steer clear of injuries and if we do so, we have a good chance of winning,” he signed off.