Indian football is far behind China: Houghton

Doha: Indian football team coach Bob Houghton today gave a thumbs down to the country as far as comparison with China in terms of development of the sport is concerned.

In charge of the Indian team since 2006, the widely travelled Houghton, with decades of coaching experience, took care of China`s national team from 1997 and 1999.

Asked why Indian football was lagging behind its neighbour despite the country making rapid progress in other fields over the past few years, Houghton said: "In India we do not have one decent training ground, we only have one stadium in the whole of the country that meets the criteria to hold a World Cup qualifier, and that is an athletics stadium in

"China has wonderful facilities. In Shanghai where I stayed most of the time, the facilities there alone were more than in all of India put together," he said.

"If you don`t have the infrastructure and the development programmes then you can`t make that step forward, so there is no comparison between India and China.

"I`d say to India that this is what we can achieve if we set out our goals properly," said the 61-year-old former Fulham player on the sidelines of the AFC Asian Cup football tournament here.

India qualified for the continental showpiece event by virtue of winning the AFC Challenge Cup in August 2008, thus breaking a 24-year-old jinx.

"This tournament is a step up for us, but if India wants to improve then it needs to do something about the domestic football programme, its infrastructure, its coach training programmes and so on. Because they are all crucial to the game."


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