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Cup report sought from Houghton

sports Updated: Feb 10, 2011 00:42 IST
HT Correspondent

The technical committee of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) has asked senior India coach Bob Houghton to file a report on the Asian Cup performance. Chairman C.R. Vishwanath, an AIFF vice-president, also sought Houghton's presence at its next meeting.

"Houghton will be told to provide a report to us at the earliest, outlining his thoughts about the performance at the Cup and where the team stands. He is in Cape Town (on holiday) at present. I have suggested that he should be present for our next meeting," Vishwanath said, after Wednesday's meeting to evaluate India's performance over the past five years.

"We discussed what happened at the Asian Cup, our rankings and the general consensus was that we have to make more progress more quickly. But yes, the Cup was disappointing," said AIFF general secretary Kushal Das who was also present.

Under Houghton, who took charge in June 2006, India have won two Nehru Cup titles and the AFC Challenge Cup in 2008 which helped them qualify for the Asian Cup finals after 27 years. India exited from the group stage of Asia's biggest tournament losing 0-4 to Australia, 2-5 to Bahrain and 1-4 to South Korea.

Das said Houghton's future would be decided by federation president Praful Patel and the executive committee that meets later this month. However, an AIFF official, who didn't want to be named as he is not authorised to talk to the media, said: "It's the rule that there has to be a change when one doesn't deliver. Unless Houghton delivers, he is no exception."

Asked if the technical committee felt Houghton and Indian Arrows' coach Desmond Bulpin were justified in seeking improvement in India's football infrastructure, Vishwanath said: "We provided the team with the best of infrastructure and look at the amount of money (nearly R15 crore) we spent preparing for the Cup. It's no excuse."

Committee members Inder Singh, Pradeep Chowdhury, Brahmanand Shankwalkar, all ex-internationals, attended the meeting where national team director Tathagata Mukherjee too was present.