Friday, July 13, 2007

Indian squad off to Portugal tour with few details

As they get ready to board the flight for Portugal for a three-week training and friendly tour in the European country, the Indian football team reportedly "has little clue" about the details. The 25 national probables, guided by head coach Bob Houghton and his support staff, leave for Lisbon in the early hours but their opposition for the four games they are scheduled to play is yet to be decided. "All I know is that we are leaving for Portugal at 12.55 am on 13 July. Nothing else is confirmed yet," team manager Pradip Chaudhury told Sahara Samay.

The team is expected to play at least one match against a team from the Portuguese top division while the other games will be against teams from the lower leagues. "Whoever we face, it would be a tough assignment for us as it is early in our season and the players have just returned from a four-week break. Moreover, European sides are always strong," Houghton said. The trip to Portugal is being funded by the All Indian Football Federation from its own resources. "The government used to pay for only the air fare. Moreover, the lodging, food and other incidental expenses in Portugal will be borne by the hosts," AIFF Technical Director Shaji Prabhakaran said.

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