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Indian football team to train in Dubai

September 26, 2007 22:41 IST

The Indian football team left for Dubai on Wednesday as part of its preparation for the first round of 2010 World Cup qualifiers against Lebanon.

The team, led by ace striker Baichung Bhutia, will take on their West Asian rivals in Beirut on October 8 before the home leg in Chennai on October 28.

The team had a preparatory camp in Goa from September 20 and reached Mumbai this afternoon. They will continue their training in Dubai and also play some matches against local sides to acclimatise to conditions and get match fit.

The team will be in Dubai till October 5 and reach Beirut the following day.

The six Mahindra United players in the national squad, who played in the second leg of the AFC Cup quarter-final against Lebanon side Al Nejmeh, will join the rest of the squad in Dubai on Thursday.

A welcome development for coach Bob Houghton is the inclusion of Mohun Bagan defender N S Manju , who had to miss the recent Federation Cup in Ludhiana due to a groin injury.

Goalkeepers Karanjit Singh and Arindam Bhattacharya and defender Anwar, who were part of the Goa camp, are not part of the touring squad.

After the national team's title triumph at the recent Nehru Cup in Delhi, the tie against Lebanon assumes added significance as it can continue the recent feel-good factor in Indian football.

For the record, India is ranked 145th on the latest FIFA charts, just a notch behind their West Asian rivals.

Before leaving Goa Indian coach Bob Houghton said, the five-day training session concentrated largely on fitness.

"We made good progress during the camp. We concentrated on shooting, skills and strategy, but the emphasis was largely on physical fitness," Houghton said in Panaji.

"The boys have emerged much stronger and fitter," he said and expressed confidence that the team will put up a good performance and overpower Lebanon.

The Team :

Goalkeepers: Sandip Nandy, Subhashish Roy Choudhury, Subrata Paul

Defenders: Irungbam Surkumar Singh, Mahesh Gawli, Syed Rahim Nabi, Samir Naik, Nanjangud Shivnanju Manju & Debabrata Roy.

Midfielders: Ajayan K Nair, Climax Lawrence, N P Pradeep, Clifford Miranda , Steven Benedict Dias, Mehrajuddin Wadoo, P.Rennedy Singh, Bungo Singh & Gouramangi Singh.

Forwards: Baichung Bhutia (captain), Sunil Chhetri, Abhishek Yadav, Manjit Singh & Tarif Ahmed.

Officials: Robert Douglas Houghton (Chief Coach), Joseph Colm Toal (Technical Director), Antonio M Pacheco (GK Coach), Pradip Chowdhary (Manager), Tapan Bhattacharya (Physio), Suresh Babu (Physical Trainer), Dr Arya (Doctor), Prithi Kumar (Masseur).

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