Jamshedpur:Arjuna awardee Deepak Mondal today showered praise on national football team coach Bob Houghton and said the squad has been progressing well under his tutelage.
Indian football was progressing slowly but steadily ever since Houghton took over, Mondal said after a felicitation ceremony at the Tata Football Academy (TFA)
premises here today. Mondal became the first TFA product to be accorded the Arjuna honour earlier this year.
"His (Houghton`s) contribution to the progress of Indian football has been immense in the last four years," the dependable stopper told reporters.
It was for the first time in the history of Indian football that the team was undergoing eight-month training abroad, under Houghton, he said.
"We have been getting maximum international exposure and played about a dozen friendly matches in the last four years," Mondal said while describing the British coach as
The Indian team had been focusing on the forthcoming AFC Asian Cup in Doha in January and, as part of preparation, had been to Portugal to undergo training for about three months, and will be leaving for Dubai on October 30 for a two-and-a-half-month training before the Cup, he said.
In Doha, India will lock horns with world-cuppers Australia, South Korea and Bahrain in group C, also called the `Group of Death`.
Mondal, who had graduated from TFA in 1998, considered himself fortunate to be the first Arjuna awardee from TFA.
Member of TFA board of management and chief of corporate social services of Tata Steel, Satis Pillai and head corporate communication, Tata Steel, were also present on the