After Portugal tour India positive about Nehru Cup

Buoyed by the Indian national squad's successful pre-season visit to Portugal, skipper Baichung Bhutia is confident of a good show in the ONGC Nehru Cup starting 17 August in New Delhi. The Indian team remained undefeated during their Portugal visit. GDR Monsanto held the Indians goalless in their final outing with most of the regulars being rested by the visitors. In the previous matches, India scored creditable victories over Reactive Agueda (3-0) and AC Marinhense (3-2) apart from a 1-1 draw against Odivelas FC.

"It's been a good preparation to launching the new season. It had never been this good before. The players are fit and the morale is high after a good tour of Portugal, Bhutia told IANS. "The team is shaping up well. New players like Clifford Miranda, Pradeep, Ajyan, Manjit Singh and Mahesh Gawli are striking the right chord. It's a healthy bunch, playing together for some time and we hope to get the results." On national coach Bob Houghton's training methods, Baichung said, "The coach does not only train us as individuals, but also shapes the whole squad as a team. How the back four support the midfield players and how they all help the forwards is all part of the scheme of the soccer we play. It is good. Really good."

On the current leadership of Indian football, Baichung said, "I am tired of saying this every time, but I will say it again. There is no planning. You are not able to plan looking at 20 years down the line. For this the administrators need to take classes from advanced soccer nations, travel, see, learn and implement according to the Indian conditions ... If the federation asks for my opinion I will surely give it."