Indian team arrives for Asian Cup
Doha: The Indian football team led by captain Bhaichung Bhutia on Thursday arrived here to take part in the Asian Cup after a gap of 27 years.
The team under the charge of Englishman Bob Houghton reached here in the afternoon from Dubai where they had camped for more than two months to prepare for the showpiece event.
Bhutia said his side would look to rise to the occasion and are not afraid of any team.
"It is a great feeling to get the exposure of playing against some of the big names in world football. But we will not be intimidated by any team in the tournament," Bhutia said.
The Indian team will have their first practice session at Al Wakrah Stadium tomorrow morning.
Their first match opponents Australia also arrived here today and their coach Holger Osieck said he considered India a "decent team".
"I think our group (Group C) is very tough. Everybody knows about (South) Korea and about their development programmes in recent years. Bahrain are one of the top teams in the Gulf region. India qualified through a not-so-easy tournament. They are not so well known, though I have seen them on tape and they look a pretty decent team," he said.
The AFC flagship event kicks off tomorrow with hosts Qatar taking on Uzbekistan in a Group A league match at the Al Khalifa Stadium.
After playing Australia on January 10 at Al Saad Stadium at 1845 hrs IST, India will take on Bahrain in their second Group C match at the same venue at 2145 hrs IST.
India`s last group match against South Korea will be played at Al Gharafa Stadium at 1845 hrs IST.