New Delhi: I-League club Churchill Brothers signed India football captain and forward Sunil Chetri on loan from Portuguese club Sporting Lisbon for four months. Churchill Brothers' president Churchill Alemao said from Goa that the forward has completed his signing on Tuesday and will be playing the remaining of the matches in the I-league and the AFC Club Cup.
"We have just completed the signing of Chetri. He will be available for four months," said Alemao, without disclosing the amount that was paid for his transfer on loan. The club president said they wanted to rope in Chetri last year only but the India captain had already committed himself to Sporting Lisbon's B team in the second division Portuguese league.
"We wanted him last year only. But he had already committed himself to Sporting Lisbon. This time when we approached him, he readily agreed," said Alemao. Chetri signed a two-year contract in July last year that would keep him with the Lisbon club till June 2014.
But Chetri, a former Kansas City striker, found it hard to break into the ranks and spent most of the time warming the bench in the Liga de Honra, which is the second division Portuguese league. Chhetri never got a start in any of the 15 matches this season so far.
Chettri came on as a substitute thrice and stayed on the bench on 12 occasions. In all, he managed just 46 minutes in three matches.
The 28-year-old made his debut in 2-0 win against Freamunde coming on as a substitute in the 87th minute. His next match was in Sporting B's 3-2 win over Braga B during which he played for just three minutes after he came on as a substitute in the 88th minute.
Chetri spent 39 minutes, the most during his stay at Lisbon, in his team's 2-3 loss to Unio Madeira that was his last appearance in December. Chetri, who is the third Indian to play trade in an overseas league, has been desperately trying to make his mark in overseas clubs without any success.
He had an unfruitful stint with American Major League Soccer (MLS) club Kansas City Wizards in 2010. Chetri left after spending much of the time on the bench in Kansas. The next year, he appeared for unsuccessful six-day trials at Glasgow Rangers and later rued the lack of "enough opportunities" and termed his short stay there as "disappointing".
He had brief stint with I-League clubs Chirag United and Mohun Bagan before finally signing for Sporting Lisbon in July last year as a free agent.