The 38-year-old Indian captain added an elusive Durand Cup title to his illustrious career when he led Bengaluru FC to their maiden crown in Asia’s oldest football tournament following a hard-fought 2-1 victory over their Indian Super League rivals Mumbai City FC at the Salt Lake Stadium on Sunday.
But the prize distribution ceremony turned controversial when Chhetri was being pushed by Ganesan while the trophy was being handed over to the player in the presence of state sports minister Aroop Biswas.
Realising that he’s not in the “photo frame”, Ganesan pushed Chettri and the player obliged.
There has been no response yet from the champions Bengaluru FC or the governor’s office, but the incident was widely slammed on various social media platforms.
“Disgraceful,” wrote former India opener-turned-commentator Aakash Chopra wrote on his Twitter handle.
— Aakash Chopra (@cricketaakash) 1663557838000
“Five seconds that show you everything that’s wrong with Indian sport. It seems that they won the Durand Cup, not Sunil Chhetri and Bengaluru FC!,” wrote Joy Bhattacharja, a former Kolkata Knight Riders team director.
Five seconds that show you everything that’s wrong with Indian sport. It’s seems that they won the Durand Cup, not… https://t.co/ej0qAIToNJ
— Joy Bhattacharjya (@joybhattacharj) 1663557239000
Sivasakthi Narayanan opened the scoring for Bengaluru early in the first-half but the Islanders drew level through Apuia Ralte ahead of the break.
A magical Chhetri corner then brought up the winner as his delivery floated in with pace for Alan Costa to rise to the occasion and do the needful.
Chhetri has spoken about the importance of the Durand Cup in his career.
“Two decades is a bit of a wait, but if it meant doing it in the blue of Bengaluru, then it was worth every season of trying,” Chhetri tweeted, posing with the trophy with his wife Sonam.
“Durand Cup Champions – would have been a shame if an Army kid playing football professionally never had the chance to say this. Come on, BFC.”
Two decades is a bit of a wait, but if it meant doing it in the blue of Bengaluru, then it was worth every season o… https://t.co/yhg7z3Jb6a
— Sunil Chhetri (@chetrisunil11) 1663525661000