Football: Six teams planned for Nehru Cup

June 18th, 2009 - 9:45 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 18 (IANS) As the Indian football team embarks on its month-long exposure trip to Dubai and Barcelona, chief coach Bob Houghton said Thursday that the biennial Nehru Cup is likely going to be a six-team affair.
“This time we plan to have six teams in the Nehru Cup so that we can have two groups and the players will get two days rest which will only help us. Last time we had five teams and our boys got just one day rest in between the matches,” said Houghton, who guided India to its maiden Nehru Cup win in 2007.

Asked about the possible teams in the tournament, Houghton said: “We are yet to get a final list and it will be decided only after the consultation with (sponsors) ONGC as they want to have teams from countries where they have tie-ups.”

The Indian team will leave for Dubai June 25 and will train there till July 7 before moving to Barcelona for a month-long camp that will conclude Aug 7.

“I hope that we will have a nice summer this time. The national team has the potential because we have won two international tournaments in the last two years and also qualified for the Asian Cup,” Houghton said at the All India Football Federation (AIFF) headquarters here Thursday.

The Briton also said that the national team will utilise FC Barcelona’s facilities at the famous Nou Camp and will play five matches with local teams.

“Hopefully, it will be a good preparation for the Nehru Cup. We will try to play four matches, maybe five, with local teams and not Barcelona. There is no point in playing teams like Barcelona, Athletico Madrid or Valencia and get defeated by huge margins,” he said.

Houghton also said that he was looking to boost the confidence of some of his boys who didn’t have a good I-League.

“One or two boys (Sunil Chettri and Subrata Paul) had a difficult season and I will try to get them back on their feet,” he said.

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