Houghton has over-achieved as India coach: Bulpin

Gurgaon: Former manager of English Championship side Queens Park Rangers and current AIFF XI coach, Trevor Bulpin feels Bob Houghton, with three titles to his credit, has over-achieved as the coach of the Indian national team.

“You have not won anything, not a single tournament, but under Houghton you have won three tournaments. I think he has over achieved,” said Bulpin, a day before his side takes on ONGC in a second round I-League match here.

The Englishman was pragmatic when discussions turned to India’s campaign in the forthcoming Asian Cup in Doha from January 7-29.

“You have to be realistic (as far as Asian Cup is concerned). Teams like Korea and Japan have top class facilities, infrastructure and youth development projects,” Bulpin said.

“Indian football has just started to develop and – infrastructure and youth development -- it’s going to take time,” Bulpin, who coached Jermain Defoe and Peter Crouch during his stint as Tottenham Hotspur’s youth team coach, said.

Drawn in group C, India will begin their Asian Cup campaign against Australia on January 10 before meeting Bahrain on January 14 and South Korea four days later.

Bulpin was impressed with whatever he had seen of the sport here but the dearth of home-grown strikers seems to have left him a bit worried.

“Indian football, it’s good, but most of the goals in the league have been scored by the Africans,” he observed. “I mean not just him,” Bulpin pointed towards Odafe even as the Churchill Brothers forward from Nigerian troubled the JCT defense during their league match at the Tau Devi Lal Stadium here.

About the All India Football Federation’s initiative to field a youth side Bulpin said, “A few years ago, a similar thing was started in Singapore. In the first season they finished at the bottom but in the next the team was somewhere in the middle of the table,” said Bulpin.