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AIFF scraps India's football friendly tie with North Korea

Source: PTI
August 26, 2010 14:47 IST
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With national coach Bob Houghton reportedly disagreeing with the proposal of India playing friendlies against African sides, All India Football Federation's (AIFF) Emergency Committee could not finalise the schedule for the India's international matches that were due to be played in the next two.

The source said the committee only finalised the two matches against Thailand, on September 4 in Bangkok and on September 8 at Ambedkar Stadium in New Delhi.

The match against North Korea, scheduled to be played on September 14 in Delhi, has also been scrapped as the East Asian country did not confirm their visit to India, the source added.

"We are not going to play against North Korea. They are not coming. We had planned a match against either Namibia or Gambia on September 18 in Delhi but Houghton does not like it. So we have asked AIFF general secretary Alberto Colaco to speak to the coach," he said.

According to the earlier plan, besides the match against Thailand, the capital's Ambedkar Stadium was to host North Korea (September 14), either Gambia or Namibia (September 18) and Turkmenistan (September 22 and 26).

But Houghton did not want to play against African sides as he thought playing against them won't serve any purpose as India are preparing for an Asian event. He also felt Turkmenistan was not strong enough as India had beaten them in the recent past.

Meanwhile, the AIFF is exploring the option of playing an international game in Guwahati and Orissa and the venues there will be inspected next month. There are also plans to hold an international friendly in Pune in October but the Balewadi Complex facility there is creating a cause for problems to the concerned authorities.

The committee also decided to field the newly-formed AIFF XI in the Federation Cup to be held in the first week of October. It also rejected East Bengal and Pune FC's plea not to use their contracted players in AIFF XI.

The federation also cleared the Indian under-15 side's one-year training at the IMG Academy in Florida, United States. The training will be sponsored by IMG-Reliance.

Meanwhile, the AIFF has begun their search for a new general secretary with two candidates being interviewed by the emergency committee for the post which would be vacant early next year.

Kushal Das, a former chief financial officer of the International Cricket Council (ICC), CFO IMG and Pricewaterhouse Coopers, and Biswajit Mitra, head of International Business section for Tata Steel in Kolkata, appeared before the AIFF emergency committee in New Delhi on Wednesday.

The committee comprises AIFF president Praful Patel, five vice-presidents - Subrata Dutta, Ankur Dutta, Joaquim Alemao, Vinod Sharma and AR Khaleel, treasurer Hardev Jadeja and general secretary Colaco.

A top AIFF source said no more interviews will be held and the new general secretary will be chosen from among the two interviewed.

"It is final and one of the two will be chosen general secretary in place of Alberto Colaco next year," he said.

Incumbent Colaco is expected to leave the post after India's campaign in the January 7-29 Asian Cup in Doha, Qatar.

Colaco, who was appointed as honorary secretary in 2000 and made general secretary of AIFF in 2004, has been expressing his desire to leave the post.

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