Football, Indian football to be precise, was the talk of the town on Tuesday. And leading the way was a Briton called Bob Houghton or ‘Bob the builder' as he is referred to.
Houghton spoke about what seems to be his pet peeve — Kolkata and its football. The trigger on Tuesday was the IFA Shield which began on Sunday. The India coach was livid on learning that some India players had taken early flights out of New Delhi to join their teams.
“Are they serious? Is it a serious tournament? Is it a serious decision by professional people? It is crazy or not crazy? I was told this morning that some players are taking early morning flights to play in the IFA Shield. They had just played in a tough international meet and would be playing in a domestic tournament the next day…,” Houghton said.
On a more congenial note, he said that the environment in Indian football has changed. “Three titles in the last two years (Nehru Cup 2007, AFC Challenge Cup 2008 and Monday's triumph) have created a winning environment in Indian football and we hope to continue in that vein till the 2011 Asian Cup.”
The victories, Houghton pointed out, has given the boys a lot of confidence. “We are not scared of anyone, anymore,” he added. “It is important to keep going right now. The next 18 months are going to be very important for us,” Houghton said, referring to preparations for the Asian Cup finals in 2011.
Asked to rate the three triumphs, Houghton put the win at the AFC Challenge Cup last year, at the top. “Every title is important but I would rate the second as the most important as it got us into the Asian Cup.”