India will remain a football laggard until the “zero infrastructure” problem is addressed by the authorities, according to national coach Bob Houghton, who feels the country’s participation in Asian Cup after 27 years will help to change things.
“You are talking about a country that has zero football infrastructure. We have, I think, one stadium in the whole of the country that meets the criteria to host a World Cup qualifier and that’s in Chennai, where there is no football and it’s an athletics stadium,” Houghton said.
“We have no training facilities which is why when we get the national team together we have to go outside the country to find somewhere to train. If you have no infrastructure then it’s impossible to organise a league because there are no grounds to play the matches.
“Our matches kick off at 3 o’ clock in the afternoon and are played on surfaces that no self-respecting top player would play on,” said the Englishman.