It seems to be bad times for Indian football at the moment. First the news of Mahindra United pulling out of the I-League on Friday now the news of national football coach Bob Houghton sending in his resignation through an email from Cape Town yesterday.
While AIFF President Praful Patel was in denial mode, Bob Houghton confirmed his resignation to a news agency, “Yes, I have resigned. But it is a more complicated issue."
But Praful Patel has said he will try to convince Bob to at least stay on until January 2011, the end of the Asian Cup with captain Baichung Bhutia saying it would be disaster if Bob would leave now.
The players would be shocked if their loved coach would leave.
With the media covering the developing story even the general public knew that Bob could take this drastic step due to the differences with General Secretary Alberto Colaco coming out in the open.
Bob has been working for month's on plans on how to best prepare his team for the 2011 AFC Asian Cup. And that is surely necessary with India set to face Asian powerhouses South Korea, Australia and Bahrain in Qatar.
Bob had planned and finalised camps in Portugal and Dubai, but friendly games against Asian opposition wasn't something which the AIFF was taking care off as was the case of contracts with the 30 international players, who wouldn't play for I-League sides until the end of the Asian Cup.
Only a couple of friendlies against Thailand has been set for September. Offers to tour England and other countries have been turned down.
But the situation got out of control when Bob got to know that AIFF officials were talking to agents to look for a replacement for him. This is why he has send in his resignation.
On the other side the seasoned coach has asked the AIFF to hike his monthly salary from 20,000 USD to 30,000 USD and extend his contract until 2013, which would mean Bob was willing to stay until the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.
And the AIFF Executive Committee was set to discuss the salary hike on Friday, May 7. In all likelihood they would have passed it in the interest of Indian football.
Now the question is can the AIFF convince Bob Houghton to stay on our national coach. And if not, what would be plan b.
At least the people behind this big mess should stand-up and take responsibility.
Otherwise things will continue the way they have been running within the federation for decades.
I can only ask Bob, please don't leave us now...