Houghton hope to see Indian footballers playing overseas

February 6th, 2009 - 9:32 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 6 (IANS) India’s chief coach Bob Houghton has said the country’s footballers should try their luck in overseas leagues.Referring to young forward Sunil Chettri’s trials at Coventry City in England, Houghton feels that the Delhi boy has set an example for his fellow players.

“It won’t be long before the first one goes and does well and then many more will follow. When I went to China in 1998 there were no Chinese players playing outside of China and after eight years there were seven or eight that played in Premiership. So once clubs become aware that there are good Indian players then they will take more of them,” the English was quoted as saying in the official website of All India Football Federation.

Sunil was the third Indian after Mohammad Salim and Bhaichung Bhutia to go for trials in a European club.

Asked if Indian players have the ability to play in European leagues, Houghton, who took Sweden’s Malmo to the European final, said it all depends on the development programme the players go through.

“When I took the club (Malmo) to the European club final the whole of that team came from a city where we were based - Malmo-and it is a very small place 250,000 people. And we got into the level as the development program was very good and therefore if we work hard on improving the quality of younger players then I don’t see why an Indian player should not be like Japanese or a South Korean,” he said.

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