Kansas City allows Chhetri to join Indian team in Portugal

July 31st, 2010 - 5:31 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 31 (IANS) American soccer club Kansas City Wizards has allowed Indian forward Sunil Chhetri to join the national team that is practising in Portugal for the 2011 Asian Cup.

“I’m excited to be joining the national team. But I’ll miss Kansas City. Everything was falling into place here, including the big win we just had against Manchester United,” said Chhetri in a statement posted on the club’s website.

Chhetri will arrive in India Monday and will join the team in Portugal, Wednesday.

Kansas City signed Chhetri from Dempo in March, making him the first Indian to join an Major League Soccer (MLS) team. His most recent appearance for the Wizards came in Sunday’s 2-1 upset of Manchester United, coming on in the 69th minute and recording two shots at the goal in his 21 minutes of action.

Chhetri scored in his debut as a substitute in an exhibition against the University of Tulsa and followed that performance with a hat-trick in his next outing against the University of Evansville.

He made his first team debut in a Lamar Hunt US Open Cup play-in match April 13 that Wizards lost 1-2 to the Colorado Rapids.

Wizards Manager Peter Vermes said: “This will allow Sunil to play full-time on a regular basis. This will not only be good for him, but good for us in the future, and we always want to help our players develop as much as we possibly can. We look forward to Sunil coming back to Kansas City.”

The 25-year-old was one of 30 players recently selected by India head coach Bob Houghton for the team’s ongoing preparations for the 2011 Asian Cup next January.

Chhetri scored a hat trick in the 2008 AFC Challenge Cup final to secure India’s spot in the Asian Cup for the first time in 24 years. Chhetri has appeared 35 times for India, scoring 16 goals in his international career.

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