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AIFF decides team for Olympic qualifiers

sports Updated: Jan 21, 2011 23:24 IST
Tomojit Basu
Tomojit Basu

India's squad for the 2012 Olympic qualifier against Myanmar will comprise the AIFF XI now playing I-League 4. The youth development side, floated by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) with an eye on the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, will take on Myanmar in the first-leg on February 23 with the return tie scheduled on March 9.

AIFF general-secretary Kushal Das also confirmed the participation of the New Delhi-based I-League team currently ninth on the table.

The I-League side is a motley bunch of under-23 players, which was under the tutelage of AIFF technical director Colin Toal and is at present coached by Englishman Desmond Bulpin.

“I'm not including any senior members because I don't want to upset the balance and understanding within the squad,” Bulpin said. Asked what the main challenges he faced were, Toal echoed senior India coach Bob Houghton's comments about the lack of infrastructure.

“That's where it's been difficult, whether it's the U-14, 16 or 19 sides. Training has been difficult but thankfully the establishment in Goa has an Astroturf which allows us to practice the year round.”

“We keep talking about progress. India might have progressed but everyone else has as well. Infrastructure has been the difference.”