India-Qatar friendly match called off

New Delhi: The Indian football team`s
international friendly match against Qatar on December 19 has
been called off due to disagreement over venue.

While India were keen to play the match in Dubai where
they are based for the past one and half month, Qatar wanted
it to be held in Doha.

"We had our own plans, so we wanted to play the match in
Dubai, our base. And moreover, the match was originally
scheduled to be held in Dubai and not Doha," an official from
the team management told reporters from Doha.

The team is coming back to Dubai from Doha tomorrow. They
will train in Dubai for a while before leaving for Doha for
the January 7-29 Asian Cup.

The Indian team management is now trying to organise a
match against a club side around the same time, while the West
Asian nation have fixed up a match against another country on
the same day in Doha.

"We are now trying to play against a club side on
December 19 or 20 to see how our boys are shaping up,
especially those who are injured," he said.

Bob Houghton`s side is grappling with injury worries with
almost a dozen players, including skipper Bhaichung Bhutia, on
the casualty list.

Striker Mohammad Rafi had a muscle pull this morning
while Baljeet Singh suffered a wrist injury during practice
yesterday but according to team sources, it is "not so

The good news, however, is that the experienced Renedy
Singh, injured for a long time now, has started training, and
so did Rakesh Masih.

Bhutia and Sameer Naik, who had gone to Chennai to get
their calf muscle injuries treated by sports medicine expert
Kanan Pugazhendi, have joined the team and are expected to
resume training in the next three-four days.

India are scheduled to play Syria on December 26.