Next up for India at the 2011 AFC Asian Cup are Bahrain, who lost their opening game 1-2 against the mighty South Koreans. And it will be another tough task for Bob Houghton's boys.
At the pre-match conference Bob Houghton said that he would make some changes to his playing eleven due to the physical workload on his players. And when I asked him who he plans to replace Bob said he didn't want to disclose the names so much ahead of the game. If I would be asked then it looks likely that Mohammed Rafi would make way upfront for Abhishek Yadav while Renedy Singh would come in for Deepak Mondal on the left with Syed Rahim Nabi dropping to the left back position, if not then Mahesh Gawli could replace Deepak.
Talking about Baichung Bhutia Bob said there was no chance of Baichung playing against Bahrain, if at all then a few minutes against South Korea.
Talking about the importance of the tournament Bob Houghton said, "We hope that the Asian Cup will be a watershed for Indian football. We hope the fact we've got here will make people sit up and realise how great it is to be here in Qatar, in a continental tournament. The fact we're here and people are watching us - apparently the game tomorrow is sold out - shows that, if we can make football good in India, we can get interest from people there."
And once more the topic of Indian football's problems came-up at the press conference with the lack of infrastructure, quality coaching and to some extend the lack of vision mentioned.
Bahrain meanwhile know that India will be a tough nut to crack as they need a win against the South Asians to stay in the tournament after their loss against South Korea. But India's spirited second half performance allowing the Aussies only one goal did worry the Bahraini coach Salman Sharida, who has coached Pakistan in the past and therefore has some knowledge about India.
Lets hope for a good game and a close result which would help Indian football...