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India need to play top-10 teams in Asia before Asian Cup: Chhetri

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

national team captain feels should play against top-10 ranked sides of the continent in the next few months if the country desires to do well in next year's Asian Cup.

Chhetri said it would be difficult to play against the top-five countries -- Australia, Iran, Korea, and -- which are playing in starting tomorrow in but they can for other teams which are above

"I definitely feel so (play against top-10 ranked teams in Asia). It will be difficult to play against the top five as they are playing in But we need to play against teams better than us and that also away matches," Chhetri told in an interaction.

"At home we are doing better but in away matches, if I may say so, our record is poor," said Chhetri, who is a brand of online fantasy platform which today announced the launch of the World Cup 2018 platform offering prizes worth Rs 20 crores.

Chhetri, who turns 34 in August, said the team should not get carried away with the triumph in and it should continue to work hard to perform well in Asian Cup.

"We don't get to play against and everyday but the teams we are going to play in Asian Cup (in January 2019) like and are two to three levels higher than us. We should be happy with what we have done but not get carried away. We have to improve a lot," he said.

"UAE, and (which are in India's group) are miles better than us and we have to put our heads down and keep working hard," said Chhetri, who played his 100th international match during the four-nation tournament in

Chhetri struck eight out of the 11 goals scored in to become the joint second highest international goal scorer among active players along with Argentine great

During that tournament, just before his 100th match, Chhetri made an appeal to fans to throng the stadium and watch the Indian team play, which was an unprecedented act for a

He said it was not a planned appeal but came out spontaneously after India played in front of an empty stadium in the first match against Chinese The appeal via a video post got support from the likes of and

"Had it been planned I would not have been allowed to do that. It was something which did not run through my PR team, it was very random. I had no clue it will have that kind of traction. I really appreciate all the eminent persons coming in and supporting me. It worked as you saw a jam-packed stadium in the next match," Chhetri said.

"Usually we enjoy jam-packed stadium in the ISL in Kerala, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Northeast and Chennai but on the first match (against Chinese Taipei) the stadium was empty and it was a bit disappointing and probably that was why I made the video."

Asked if he has personal acquaintance with Kohli, he said, "Virat generally loves football. We talk on regular basis, not on though. He likes football and probably that is why he came to my support. He is a part of FC Goa team and comes to watch ISL matches.

"He is knowledgeable about football and that is why he wants to encourage fans to watch football matches and that is great. I did not ask him personally though."

Meanwhile, will engage football fans to enable them to use their skills to build and own their teams on the platform and be a part of the excitement associated with in The top five football fans on the platform will also have the opportunity to travel to and witness the 2018 live.

in was launched in March with the start of IPL XI and has successfully concluded this engagement with users winning prizes up to Rs 10 crores. The platform offers the widest game portfolio from across the world including cricket, kabaddi, European football, hockey, basketball, formula 1, golf, bicycle racing to name a few.

Trigam Mukherjee, of StarPick, said, "It is significant because India is predominantly a crazy country but what we have seen in the last five years is a latent demand for football, and fantasy will power non-fans like in football, which will help in growing the fan base of these

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, June 13 2018. 16:55 IST