India look to bounce back in friendly match against Namibia
New Delhi: India would look to bounce back
after their back-to-back losses against Thailand when they
take on an understrength and underprepared Namibia in their
international friendly football match here on Wednesday.
Bob Houghton's side lost 0-1 in Bangkok and 1-2 here
on September 4 and 8 respectively and they would look to
salvage some pride with a good performance against the African
side, ranked 23 places above them in the FIFA charts at 115th,
and who have left out at least half a dozen first team
Despite dominating for major parts in the two matches
against Thailand, it won't be easy for Houghton's side to eke
out a win or even a draw unless they pulled up their socks and
improve their sharpness upfront.
India had been able to park the ball in the opposition
half for long periods in the two matches against Thailand but
their undoing has been that they could rarely penetrate the
rival penalty box. Either the goal bearing passes did not come
from their midfielders or the strikers lacked finishing
Houghton had to bring in regular captain Bhaichung Bhutia
in the last 20 minutes of the match here despite the skipper
lacking in match fitness due to thyroid illness.
The introduction of the 'Sikkimese Sniper' saw a lot of
shots at the Thai goal with none finding the target.
With rookie striker Mohammed Rafi unimpressive in the
second match against Thailand and winger Steven Dias suffering
a minor fracture on the rib in the same game, Houghton will
ring in some changes in the midfield and upfront for
Mumbai FC striker Abhishek Yadav will start along with
Sunil Chhetri, with Bhutia coming in as late second-half
With senior player Renedy Singh also down with a
hamstring injury, Clifford Miranda will start as left winger
with Anthony Pereira switching to right flank.
"Abhishek and Chhetri will start. Abhishek has played
well in Portugal and I have never seen him in better form as
he is now," Houghton said.