National coach Bob Houghton would not be able to guide India during the initial phase of the Olympic qualifiers. The Englishman needs immediate surgery on his hip and is scheduled to leave for his Cape Town home on Tuesday.
In his absence, Irishman Colin Toal would look after the probables. Toal, who has worked with Houghton in a number of clubs, has also been appointed technical director of the All India Football Federation’s talent development programme, announced president Priyaranjan Dasmunshi on Monday.
India face Myanmar in the first round of qualifiers on February 7 in Yangon with the return leg scheduled for February 14.
A win in the first round would pit India against Iraq and an upset there would be followed by an encounter against DPR Korea.
Houghton, who underwent a similar surgery nearly three years back, would come under the knife on January 29 which might rule him out of India duty for a month or two.