Sunil Chhetri's heartfelt message, it seems, has resonated with Indian football fans!
Concerned and visibly let down by negligible support for the national football team during the opening match of the ongoing Intercontinental Cup in Mumbai, the skipper posted a video on social media, urging fans to attend the Blue Tigers' match in large numbers.
"It is not fun to criticise or abuse on the internet. Come to the stadium, do it on our face, scream at us, shout at us, abuse us and who knows, one day we might change you guys. You might start cheering for us," Chhetri said in a two-minute-long video post.
Chhetri's plea, which went viral on social media for all the right reasons, has done the trick as the tickets for India's second match of the quadrennial tournament against Kenya, scheduled for Monday, June 4, have been sold out.
The official ticketing partner of Intercontinental Cup showed error message as early as Monday noon. The website had opened a couple more stands early in the morning but the tickets for the same were unavailable within minutes.
Only 2,569 people were present at the 10,000-seater stadium on Saturday even as Chettri's hat-trick helped India crush Chinese Taipei 5-0 and top the four-team table.
The recently-garnered hype for the match soared heights so much so that popular YouTuber Nikunj Lotia announced on Twitter that he had bought an entire stand and requested fellow football fans to contact him for tickets.
Chhetri's video garnered a lot of attention on Twitter. From cricketing icons Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli, to international stars and organisations, including Spanish top-tier football league, La Liga, backed the captain's heartfelt message.
Check out some of the reactions to Chhetri's plea
Sunil Chhetri’s message is also a lesson in marketing. Often, simple, heartfelt messages are the best publicity you can get.— Aakriti (@Aakriti1) June 3, 2018
Ifyou care about sport, listen to Sunil Chhetri’s plea. Sad in a way and yet inspiring.— Rohit Brijnath (@rohitdbrijnath) June 2, 2018
Incidentally, Chhetri will also be playing his 100th match for the senior national football team on Monday. The 31-year-old is set to become the only second footballer from the country after former captain Bhaichung Bhutia to achieve the feat.