Blue Tigers urge fans to come together for India at VYBK

KOLKATA (West Bengal) [India], June 6 (ANI): The last time the Blue Tigers played in India, and in front of the fans was in Kolkata, in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Qualifiers at the VYBK, in October 2019. The period in between has been a lull with the pandemic having rocked sporting activities all over the world. Hence, the very prospect of playing in front of the "passionate Kolkata crowd" excites all.

"Playing in front of fans is such an inspiration. We did have some fans who were allowed in a match in editions of the Leagues, but that was restricted. I understand it's going to be crazy and super fun at the VYBK simply because Kolkata is the hub of Indian Football. Come out and support us," said midfielder Anirudh Thapa in a statement. Apart from him, winger Ashique Kuruniyan uttered that it's not just the fans who missed the players, but vice versa.

"The pandemic cost us live sporting action in front of the fans. Not just the fans suffered, but the players have also been missing the roar from the stands. It's time to hold hands and walk the path together. I urge all to come to the stadium and cheer for us," said Kuruniyan.

"The best part is that the Qualifiers are happening in India, and in Kolkata and we are sure that the fans will be there in the stands to cheer for us. The fans always spur us on." India open their campaign against Cambodia in the Asian Cup qualifiers on June 8 followed by matches against Afghanistan on June 11, and Hong Kong on June 14.

Harmanjot Singh Khabra, making a return to the Indian squad after a span of seven years, recollected some "golden memories" of having begun his career in the 'City of Joy'. "I have always felt at home in Kolkata. I grew up as a footballer here, and have some golden memories. I hope that I will be able to make this one memorable one in the National team jersey. The fans here are the bloodline of football. The fans in Bengal make you feel special. I am looking forward to walking out at the VYBK again," Khabra smiled.

Star defender Rahul Bheke expressed that the fans bring in positivity. "It's so positive that we will finally be playing in front of our fans. The pandemic cost us the charm of packed stands for understandable reasons. It will certainly be a boost. The Kolkata fans are extremely passionate, and I request all of them to get together for India," Bheke maintained.