Urging footballers of all age categories to take care of their diet and fitness, India skipper Sunil Chettri says he fears that pandemic may disturb their routine and that may affect their form post-COVID-19 when football resumes. Also Read - COVID-19: Why Sunil Chhetri Does Not Prefer Closed-Door Matches

“The lockdown tends to disturb your schedule a lot as everyone tends to sleep at awkward times. That also affects your diet. So as players we need to be extra careful and stick to our routines,” said the 35-year old as per a statement shared by AIFF. Also Read - Was Denied Selection Once Because my Father Refused to Pay Bribe, Reveals Virat Kohli

Besides Chhetri, Sandesh Jhingan, Anirudh Thapa and Amrinder Singh were in attendance along with Bala Devi, Aditi Chauhan, and Dangmei Grace from the women’s senior team. Also Read - No clean bowled as satisfying as Prasad dismissing Sohail: Virat Kohli to Sunil Chhetri

Players from Indian Arrows, U-16 and U-17 boys national teams and also from U-17 Women’s World Cup squad attended the meeting.

Kushal Das, general secretary, AIFF and Abhishek Yadav, director national teams were also present.

The players briefed the President about “adhering to the respective schedules from the technical staff,” and about “staying safe at home with family,” and “picking up new indoor hobbies.”

Patel spoke individually to all the players, encouraging them to “stay ready” as and when footballing action resumes.

“We are extremely proud of all of you. Keep the flag flying high,” he stated.

“We are in touch with the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs as to when footballing action can resume in India,” he added.

“Stay safe everyone, and don’t rush.”

“This is such a nice platform where the juniors can look up to their idols directly. I am sure that getting to interact with the likes of Chhetri, Jhingan, Bala and others will inspire the junior players,” Patel stressed.

Speaking to the U-17 Women’s World Cup squad, Patel wished them luck.

“Give it your best shot, and never be under pressure. I am confident you will do well,” he said.

“The new dates have been announced and all of you need to stay knitted together as a team, and raise each other’s morale.”

The women’s national team players thanked Patel for “planning a strong international programme” which helped the senior women play 25 friendly matches in 2018-19 as part of their exposure tours.

(With agency inputs)