Bijay Chhetri from Manipur is currently playing for Chennai City FC Credit: EastMojo image

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Imphal: A 19-year-old football player from Manipur, Bijay Chhetri, is all set to play for Chennai City FC (CCFC) at the upcoming I-League next year. This will be his second stint at the I-League for CCFC.

As per the recent announcement by the All India Football Federation (AIFF), the 14th edition of Hero I-League will kick off on January 9 next year in Kolkata.

A resident of Kanglatongbi in Imphal West district, Bijay, who is a central defender, made his debut at the country’s prestigious professional football league with the I-League club Indian Arrows. Before that, he had played for Shillong Lajong FC both U-16 and U-18 team.

Speaking with EastMojo, the young footballer disclosed that his elder brother Ajay Chhetri who himself is a professional footballer introduced him into the world of football. Since then, he has widened up his career as a professional player.

“I started playing football because of my brother who played for Bengaluru FC. Right now, he is doing pre-season for the Indian Super League (ISL),” said Bijay.

The former Indian Arrows player was home for a short vacation when EastMojo team met him at one of the local tournaments.

Bijay will be leaving for pre-season training at Chennai and get prepared for the upcoming I-League for CCFC likely on November 22.

Bijay Chhetri in one of his professional plays

Also Read: Manipur: 11-year-old boy plays football with one leg, loves Cristiano Ronaldo

Bijay Chhetri playing for Chennai City FC against Aizawl FC earlier this year

The youngest among his team members, Bijay is the lone player from the northeast states playing for Chennai City FC at present.

Having played for one of the top football professional leagues in the country, Bijay is eyeing to play in the national team and to represent India at the international platforms in future.

“My plan is to represent the Indian team in international football tournaments. But after retiring from my career, I want to open a fitness gym and assist the youngsters to maintain a physically fit and healthy,” said Bijay.

Stressing on how Manipur has produced a number of fine athletes, making a sports powerhouse in the country, Bijay also urged the upcoming footballers to follow the footsteps of those acclaimed sports stars.

Those who want to pursue their career in sports, especially football; they should go to the academy and start playing for local clubs. Accordingly, they can become professional players, he added.

With the threat of COVID-19 pandemic still at large, many sports academies and local clubs in the state remain affected, resulting in a high impact on the prospects’ performances.

Also Read: ‘Sports industry the hardest hit’, yet the least spoken about

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