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Indian Football Team

Most appearances as captain among active Indian football players

Published at :June 1, 2024 at 1:23 PM
Modified at :June 1, 2024 at 1:35 PM
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Samannay Sen


New leaders need to step up in Indian football after Sunil Chhetri’s retirement.

The captain’s armband in football carries immense weight. It signifies leadership, responsibility and the trust of the team.

While statistics like goals scored or tackles won grab headlines, the influence of a captain can be equally, if not more, crucial. In Indian football, there’s a new generation of players emerging, and with them comes a changing of the guard in terms of leadership.

The emergence of these captains reflects a positive trend in Indian football. There’s a growing pool of talented players who can take on leadership roles and inspire their teammates. Indeed, the future of Indian football leadership appears to be in good hands.

It’s important to note that captaincy is not solely determined by the number of appearances with the armband.  Players like Subhasish Bose and Gurpreet Singh Sandhu have also displayed strong leadership qualities when given the opportunity.

The Indian football team benefits from having a group of players who can step up and lead when needed. As the team continues to strive for greater success on the international stage, strong leadership will be paramount.

The players mentioned in this article, along with the next generation of leaders, will play a crucial role in shaping the future of the Indian football team. Leaders are very essential for a team like India to improve on the global stage. As Sunil Chettri retires, someone needs to step up to fulfill his role as a positive striker who can covert chances.

This article explores the active Indian footballers who have donned the captain’s armband most frequently.

Subhasish Bose (3 Appearances)

Subhasish Bose, a relatively young defender compared to the others on this list, has captained India on three occasions. This highlights the faith the coaching staff has in his leadership potential.

Bose’s composure on the ball and his ability to read the game make him a valuable asset at the back. As he gains more experience, Bose is expected to take on a bigger leadership role in the future.

Sandesh Jhingan (7 Appearances)

Nicknamed “The Rock,” Sandesh Jhingan is another central defender who has donned the captain’s armband for India on seven occasions. Jhingan’s defensive solidity is complemented by his leadership skills. 

He leads by example, putting in tireless performances and motivating his teammates with his never-say-die attitude. Jhingan’s leadership is crucial in organizing the defence and ensuring a strong backline for India.

Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (10 Appearances)

Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, India’s dependable goalkeeper, has worn the captain’s armband on 10 occasions. His vocal presence and commanding character at the back naturally translate into leadership qualities.

As the last line of defence, Sandhu marshals his backline and communicates effectively with his teammates. His experience in the Indian Super League (ISL) and with the national team allows him to inspire confidence.

Sunil Chhetri (87 Appearances)

Sunil Chhetri, the name synonymous with Indian football, leads the pack by a significant margin. With a staggering 87 appearances as captain for the national team, Chhetri’s leadership qualities are undeniable.  His journey began in 2011 and since then, he’s captained India through numerous highs and lows. 

His dedication, experience and goal-scoring prowess make him a natural leader, respected by teammates and opponents alike.  Chhetri’s captaincy has coincided with a period of steady improvement for the Indian team, with victories at the SAFF Championship and a rise in the FIFA rankings.

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