AIFF rejects Bob’s plan; IMG-RIL to sponsor under-15 team

August 25th, 2010 - 11:29 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 25 (IANS) The All India Football Federation (AIFF) Wednesday rejected chief coach Bob Houghton last minute plan of not playing friendlies against Namibia, Gambia and Turkmenistan as part of the national team’s preparation for the Asian Cup in January.
The AIFF emergency committee that met here under the chairmanship of president Praful Patel, also a Union Civil Aviation minister, decided that secretary general Alberto Colaco will sit down with Houghton to solve the issue.

“The friendlies were arranged after consulting Houghton. Right from day one the chief coach had maintained that the national team should play against higher ranked teams. But now the coach has suddenly changed his plans, leaving the AIFF in a spot of bother. The coach says he has some reservations about playing against African teams, but this can’t be conveyed to the AIFF at the last minute when everything has been finalised,” a top official of the emergent committee told IANS.

After consulting Houghton, the AIFF had lined-up five friendlies at the Ambedkar Stadium against Thailand, North Korea, Namibia, Gambia and Turkmenistan between Sep 8 to 25.

Houghton had agreed to play two friendlies against Thailand and one against North Korea, but now he is refusing to play against Namibia, Gambia and Turkmenistan. The coach wants the last three friendlies to be replaced by a camp in one of the west Asian countries, like United Arab Emirates (UAE), where the national team can play against some club sides.

The official also said that International Management Group (IMG) and Reliance Industries Limited have agreed to sponsor the under-15 team, which will train for four years at IMG’s base in Florida.

“We have a 16 member under-15 team and they will leave for Florida in the next couple of days. IMG and RIL will take care of everything. The initial agreement is of one year and then it will be extended for another three years,” the official said.

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