Frustrated at not getting enough opportunities to play in Major League Soccer (MLS), India striker Sunil Chettri appears desperate to leave American soccer club Kansas City Wizards, but does not know how to go about it.
Chettri, who is the third Indian to ply trade in an overseas league, admitted that he is "frustrated" and is believed to have approached national coach Bob Houghton to see if he could join the Indian squad, which is training in Portugal since he is spending much of the time on the bench in Kansas.
Houghton had asked All India Football Federation (AIFF) if it could help Chettri out. But there is a hitch. The MLS league rules stipulate that a player breaking the contract midway through the season has to cough up a tidy sum.
The only way the AIFF could bail out the star striker is to tell the Wizards that Chettri is needed to attend the ongoing national camp in Portugal. Even then the club might ask the national federation for a compensation.
A top AIFF official said that the national federation can't help Chettri.
"We can't pay the club any compensation. Chettri himself has to come out of the contract," a top AIFF official told IANS.
Chettri also said that he was trying to move on.
"There are times when I think it's just not happening, and I should move on and think of different alternatives," Chhetri was quoted as saying by mlssoccer.com.
"But then it's a kind of challenge for me. Everyone looks up to me in my country, and there is a point to prove for myself. I came here to learn, and I think I can learn more over here. That really motivates me," he said.
"It's been three months that I have been here working a lot and trying to understand the kind of game we play in Kansas City. It's been difficult because I am not used to all the things that happen over here, but I am trying to do my best to acclimatize," said Chhetri.
Kansas City Wizards manager Peter Vermes said that these are tough times for Chettri.
"Let's face it, the reason why he's here is because he wants to play. There is a frustration level when he doesn't get to play every week. I will say that he's handled it pretty well. I know that there are some weeks where he is more up and others when he is a little down. That's part of being a player," Vermes said.