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‘Want boys to enjoy lifetime opportunity’

sports Updated: Jan 09, 2012 01:14 IST
Tomojit Basu

India coach Savio Medeira is trying to make the best of a tricky situation. He was candid that little can be learnt in 90 minutes against a team of Bayern Munich’s stature but given that this is as good an opportunity as he will get before starting preparations for the AFC Challenge Cup finals, Medeira also wants to try a few youngsters on Tuesday evening.

“You cannot compare India with Bayern. We are nowhere near the fitness levels of European teams. However, this is a lifetime opportunity for the boys and I want them to enjoy the evening,” Medeira, 46, said after training on a bleary, cold morning at the Ambedkar Stadium here on Sunday.

“But this match will help me to try some young faces ahead of the AFC Challenge Cup (in Kathmandu next March). All 23 will be ready to play but the number of substitutes will only be decided at the managers’ meeting tomorrow (Monday),” he said.

Medeira welcomed the All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) gesture to give former national skipper Bhaichung Bhutia a fitting farewell. “A lot of other players deserved a fitting send-off but for someone who has contributed so much to Indian football, this is an appropriate gesture,” he said.

Bhutia, Medeira said, would start on Tuesday.

Asked by HT as to what this tie meant to him, Medeira said: “I am not going to judge myself by the result but yes, it’s a great opportunity for me as well.”

Medeira also said he would like to see Bhutia in the AIFF as an administrator. “He is a popular face and his stature would definitely bring about changes there.” Bhutia, in turn, said: “It’s not necessary that I have to be at the AIFF to help Indian football. I am already trying to do that through my club United Sikkim FC.”

Bhutia echoed Medeira about the difference in quality between the teams, adding, “I am not 100% fit but there are no injuries. For me, it is just about enjoying my last match. I watch the Bundesliga closely and for me it is the most exciting across European leagues. It’s sad that most people don’t watch German football,” Bhutia said.

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