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India Football: Our chance at Doha against Asian giants ?


Bob Houghton - big plans ?

Bob Houghton – big plans ?

Watching World Cup is always a great feeling. Now that the month-long football’s showpiece event is over, I am back to the basics: Indian football.

As Indian team face a real test of strength (at the Asian Cup next year at Doha), the federation have released couple of international assignments for the team. The team is currently based in Portugal and are going through the grinds. But some have already raised queries and doubts about Indian team composition. Most of the senior players are over the hills. Some are nurshing injuries. And some don’t even deserve a place in the squad. Yet, we are spending crores on tours which I’m sure would fetch little or nothing for Bob Houghton and India. In my earlier article on Korea and Indian football, I had talked about the youth development. So, why didn’t the Federation spend some on the grassroot projects and the rest on tours, I wonder.

During the World Cup, lot of people wanted to know why we don’t qualify. Why we don’t make a good team? I was a bit flummoxed. Because I never knew that Indian Football team has so many followers. Everybody were awestruck when they were told that India would be playing in Asia’s biggest and top event in January next year. But it’s going to be harsh a reality for India which surprisingly hasn’t seen any change in the team composition.

I still fail to understand why coach Bob Houghton has to stick with the same players. Why he has failed to bring in new faces during the last four years? At one end, he has been talking about being ‘fair’ when it comes to contract dispute. His recent spat with the Federation almost brought India’s Asian Cup preparation to a dead halt. But aren’t we giving him too much power in team selection? Let’s not just sit back and discuss what we did in last summer (Nehru Cup win). Australia, South Korea, and even Bahrain will prove quite a handful for our veteran warhorses.

There are players in this current Indian squad who don’t even deserve a place. I don’t want to name them. But Bob wants them in his scheme of planning because he he hasn’t found a replacement for them. Quite strange though because a youth development programme under Colin Toal already exists. So I guess he hasn’t been able to develop a sync with the youth development programme.

This has been a perennial problem with the foreign coaches. These gentlemen think they are the best. I’m sure some are really good. But the Federation always lack in confidence when it comes to dealing with these foreign trainers. I don’t know who’s answerable to whom. We don’t even know who does Bob report to. Who reviews his work? Who oversees the grassroot programme?

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