India football team in Dubai for Asian Cup preparations

Dubai: Starting its month-long preparations
for the January Asian Cup in Qatar, the 37-member Indian
football squad has arrived here for training and planned
friendly matches against local clubs.

Chief coach Bob Houghton had already travelled from South
Africa to join the players and the rest of the supporting
staff that flew in from New Delhi.

Skipper Bhaichung Bhutia and star striker Sunil Chhetri
are among the players who joined the squad in New Delhi before
making the trip to Dubai.

The Indian team has started its daily training at the
local Al Wasl Club.

Efforts are being made to organise friendlies with clubs
and other neighbouring countries during their stay here.

"This is not the first time that the Indian team has
chosen Dubai as its training destination,` Gulf International
Promotion`s (GIP) Raul Fernandes said.

"All of them love the appeal of Dubai along with the
excellent training facilities here. The added bonus will be
the acclimatisation factor as they prepare for the Asian Cup
to be played in Qatar in January 2011," he said.

With UAE Football taking a short break to accommodate
international activity including the Asian Games in China this
month, a lot of the local clubs have confirmed their friendly
matches against the Indian team.

"There will be friendly matches against other countries,
but these will be made known only after they are confirmed,"
Fernandes said.