A 3-0 win would be a perfect Bā??day gift for Houghton
Oct 30: Perform or perish situation for India against Lebanon
Indian captain Bhaichung Bhutia and his boys when take on the field against Lebanon in the rescheduled World Cup qualifier in Goa later in the day, would love to go all out to pull off a much wanted 3-0 win, as it will be a perfect birthday gift from the team to their coach Bob Houghton, who turns 60 today.
A change in venue at the eleventh-hour due to a washout in Chennai, where match was originally scheduled, gave Goa an opportunity to host an international soccer match.
India will take on Lebanon in a home-leg tie of 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifier at Jawaharlal Nehru stadium, Fatorda, here on Tuesday. The kick- off time is at 3 P.M. and it will be a day match, while earlier the match was to be played under the floodlights.
Indian coach Houghton was to leave for Bangkok for the birthday celebration with his family on Monday morning. His family was waiting to celebrate his birthday in a grand fashion, but he stayed back due to his professional commitments and it proves that how passionately he follows his work. It also shows his love and passion towards the game of football. Instead of going for Bangkok, he hurriedly headed towards Goa.
However, he is not too disappointed with the sudden twist in the tale. It has instead made him confident as this turnaround might turn fortunes in India favour.
The sudden change in the venue has brought some relief in the Indian camp, as Houghton and Bhutia would never wanted the match to be arranged in Chennai at first instance and now they are happy that it will be played on familiar turf in Goa.
Indian team had an elongated practice session at the Cuncolim ground, within two hours, after arriving in Goa.
“I would have ideally wanted the match in Delhi, If not in Goa,” said Houghton after the practice.
“My boys are quite familiar with the ground at the Nehru Stadium here,” he said. “Four Goan players would take the field Tuesday. That surely would be an advantage.”
“We are essentially banking on crowd support and I am pretty sure we will have plenty of support in store tomorrow,” Houghton said.
When asked whether the pressure of a 3-0 win against Lebanon is troubling his mind, “We have a target to achieve. What we are basically looking at is to get in the first one in early and may be lead 1-0 at half time before proceeding with our plans,” Houghton reiterated.
However, captain Bhaichung Bhutia feels Goa as a venue won’t provide any added advantage.
“Firstly, the Lebanese have now got enough time to recover from jet lag. Moreover, they have now acclimatised themselves with the weather.”
The Indian team is also facing some major injury problems that will certainly create problems in their way. N P Pradeep, India’s hero in Nehru Cup final is known to have recovered from his injury while veteran and experienced left-winger Rennedy Singh and left back N S Manju may not start today. It would be really a matter concern for the think-tank with the former being injured and the latter was down with fever.
On the other hand, Goa Football Association (GFA) secretary Savio Messias is not too confident of having an impressive turnout Tuesday, given the fact that the match had to be arranged in a less than 48-hour notice.
“We could only order the printing of tickets late on Sunday,” he said.
“The sale would start at 11am on Tuesday. We didn’t have too much time to do some publicity,” he added.
The match would be of great importance for India to move a step ahead in their quest of bringing Indian football into the international arena, but the fact remains, as India has never beaten Lebanon in their football history. All in all an exciting and thrilling encounter is on the cards.
India (from): Subrata Paul, Sandip Nandi, Subhasis Roy Choudhary, Surkumar Singh, Mahesh Gawli, Syed Rahim Nabi, Samir Naik, NS Manju, Debrata Roy, Clifford Miranda, Mehrajuddin Wadoo, Rennedy Singh, NP Pradeep, Steven Dias, KN Ajayan, Climax Lawrence, Gourmangi Singh and Bhaic.
Lebanon (from): Lary Mehana, Hassan Moghnieh, Paul Rustom, Mootaz Bellah El Jounaidi, Hussain Amin, Mohammad Ghaddar, Ali Al Saadi, Ramez Dioub, Amer Khan, Mohammad Karhani, Faissal Antar, Mohamad Halawi, Ali Yakub, Abbas Ali Atwi, Mahmoud El Ali and Hussain Hemdani.
Read More: Lebanon | Hassan | Nehru Place | Nehru Nagar | Nehru College Jhajjar | Nehru Gate Batala Ndtso | Kamla Nehru Colony Bathinda | Gularia Mohammad Hussain | Nehru Rd. Baraut | Nehru Nagar,beawar | Bhutia | Borgaon Manju | Kamala Nehru Nagar | Motilal Nehru Nagr Bhilai | Karhani | Nehru Bazar (piler) So | Nehru Nagar(guntur) | Bellary Nehru Colony | Belgaum Nehru Nagar | Nipani Nehru Chowk Ndtso | Bhutia Busty Ndso | Karhan | Mon | Ali
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