In club vs country conundrum, Sunil Chhetri gives priority to National duty

In the club versus country conundrum over the Hangzhou Asian Games, Indian football turned out to be the loser but Sunil Chhetri, arguably the country's greatest footballer ever, rose above all these and gave precedence to National duty.
The 39-year-old talisman, who has created seemingly unsurmountable National records in his 18-year-long international career, raised his hand and decided to lead a rag-tag national team after many Indian Super League clubs refused to release their players.
Thirteen players, including key defender Sandesh Jhingan and number one goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, from the original 22-member squad announced last month were not released by their respective ISL clubs.
A hapless All India Football Federation (AIFF), after hectic parleys, was able to stitch a second-rung 18-member team made up mostly of inexperienced players with Chhetri being the lone notable face.
"He (Chhetri) is such a reputed player and it's not a full strength team. But he stuck his neck out and said he wanted to go for the sake of the country and he's ready for the Asian Games. Hats off to him," an AIFF official told PTI.
"We knew that he would rise above all these and would give the call of the nation priority and he did just that."
Chhetri's club Bengaluru FC had six players in the initial 22, including Gurpreet, and it released two players, the other one being Rohit Danu. "Of course, his (Chhetri's) club said yes and released him. So, credit to Bengaluru FC also. The club made the sacrifice of releasing its best player when it is not a FIFA window," the official said.  PTI