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India in great shape for Nehru Cup
GURGAON, AUG 13 (Agencies):
Published on 13 Aug. 2009 11:14 PM IST
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After a stimulating Barcelona sojourn, the Indian football team began a practice camp for the Nehru Cup (beginning August 19 in Delhi) at Tau Devi Lal Stadium on Wednesday. India are the defending champions. After watching his men for a little over two hours, coach Bob Houghton seemed contented. He felt that the team was in great shape and ready for the Nehru Cup. However, Houghton informed that star striker Sunil Chhetri, who is nursing an ankle injury on his right foot, may not play in the tournament. “If we think he is fit to play, he will play in the Nehru Cup. But we will not force him as he has a long career ahead of him,” said the Englishman, who has already hinted that Subhash Singh could be called for this short camp. Chhetri stayed away from serious practice on the first day. The Dempo striker did some light training on the sidelines while his teammates were engaged in a proxy match. “Everybody is ok except me,” smiled Chhetri as he took a brisk walk towards the team bus. When someone suggested that he should go for a quick ‘desi’ remedy so that he can play in the Nehru Cup, Chhetri laughed and said, “The coach won’t allow that.” “Sunil has been a very important player for us in the last two years. Lots of tests have been done but there is no sign of a serious injury. But finally it depends on him,” explained Houghton. India to play Lebanon in opener New Delhi, Aug 13 (IANS): Defending champions India will open their Nehru Cup campaign against Lebanon in the inaugural match at the Ambedkar Stadium here August 19. The five-nation tournament will now be played in a round robin format after the All India Football Federation (AIFF) rejected the entry of Palestine, which was sending a junior team for the international tournament. A top AIFF official told IANS that India will take on 160th ranked Kyrgyzstan August 22, and will meet neighbours Sri Lanka August 25. India will face last year’s runners-up Syria August 28. The top two teams will qualify for the final slated for August 31. The draw will be made public Friday. India coach Bob Houghton was happy with the number of participating teams. “We will start with Lebanon and with five teams, we will get at least four matches to play in the round robin league. It will give us more exposure. And I can assure you that all the teams are good,” he said. Sponsors ONGC said the winners will receive a prize money of $40,0000 while runners-up will get $20,0000. The man of the match in every game will get $300 and teams will get $500 for winning every match.

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