New Delhi: After returning home from Barcelona, the Indian football team is now set for the Nehru Cup tournament.
The world class facilities that the team enjoyed in Barcelona is what the team’s coach Bob Houghton has been demanding for years.
“Training facilities were good. Not just the fields but the whole set up there is great. Need to replicate it in India to progress,” says Houghton.
Though the team is confident about its preparation for Nehru Cup, there is one issue which is still worrying the team.
The team’s star striker Sunil Chhetri is injured.
Though the final call will be taken by the doctors, Subhash Singh has been regularly practicing with the team.
“We are all good. Anyone can replace me but will still want to play,” says Sunil.
Host India kick off the tournament on Wednesday with an opener against Lebanon and then the five teams continue to compete for the two final spots in a round robin format.
CNN-IBN spoke to football player Baichung Bhutia about the team's preparation for the tournament.
Here is an excerpt of the interview -
CNN-IBN: Two years ago on August 29, India beat Syria to win the Nehru Cup, will the victory repeat itself this time?
Baichung Bhutia: I am hoping that we can repeat it again. It will be a hattrick for us if we win Nehru Cup this year.
CNN-IBN: Tell us about your experience in Barcelona. Did it help you in preparing for Nehru Cup?
Baichung Bhutia: The experience was very good. They have extremely good grounds and arrangements. Even playing with teams who have a good standard helped us a lot.
CNN-IBN: Coming back to Nehru Cup, how important is this match for India?
Baichung Bhutia: It is a very important match for us because our first match is against Lebanon which is a very good team. So to start off with a win in the tournament is very important for us.
CNN-IBN: What about Syria? They have done well recently so who difficult it would be for India to beat them?
Baichung Bhutia: They have been playing well recently so they definitely come with a lot of confidence and are also highly ranked in India. But we have beat them in last Nehru Cup in the final so though it is going to be a difficult tournament for us we are confident that we can win it. If we play to our potential then we definitely have a good chance to win it.