Chhetri suffered an injury during the Federation Cup and was sidelined for around a month. However, the Indian head coach confirmed that he is not in a rush to include him against Nepal as there are several important games coming up.
“He is certainly not playing the Nepal game,” said Constantine, explaining questions about team composition. “There are still players staking a claim for places in the side against the Krgyz Republic.”
“I would like to see Sunil lead the team in the Asian Cup competition (India is still to qualify). He is up to the mark, as far as fitness is concerned, but is not 22 now.
“At his age (32 years), there is a tendency to pick up injuries and needs time to recover. It is my job to protect him.”
Constantine revealed he has chosen to rest the star player and, instead gave the skipper's armband to goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh.
He also revealed that apart from Chhetri other first teamers like Bengaluru FC's CK Vineeth and Udanta Singh will also miss the match because of injury concerns.
India will face Nepal in an invitational friendly at Mumbai Football Arena, with both groups searching for some key match practice ahead of crucial 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualifying matches which are in seven days' shot.
India won their last two matches against Cambodia in an international friendly and in the important AFC Asian Cup 2019 Qualifier match against Myanmar.
India will be confident against their neighbours as the hosts have not lost against them over the past 18 years. The two nations played each other 18 times. India have won 12 times while Nepal bagged 4 wins. Two games ended in draws.