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Indians leave for Portugal

NEW DELHI: “It should give us all a good platform to learn and improve our game,” Bhaichung Bhutia, the captain of the Indian football team, said on the eve of the tour to Portugal.

The Indian team is scheduled to play three friendly fixtures during the fortnight-long tour.

“We’ll be playing against second division clubs,” the team coach, Bob Houghton, said here on Thursday.

Preparatory camp

The team went through a three-week preparatory camp at Gurgaon.

“It has been a good camp for us. It’s the first time that we’ll be playing against some good European clubs and I’m sure the experience would be very helpful for the team,” Bhutia said.

“Don’t expect much. It is still pre-season, but I know the players have the desire to learn and improve.

“This tour is part of our training programme and I am sure the players will make the most of the good oppositions.

“It’ll be something different for the boys. They’ve had a good camp and we’ll return to have another.

“The tour will give every player an opportunity to assess himself,” Houghton said.

Play natural game

The team, assured Bhutia, will give its best.

“We’ll try and play our natural game because we’re going there to learn. We would like to play attacking football.

“The tour is essentially a confidence building exercise and we have an excellent coach to guide us. I am looking forward to the tour,” Bhutia said. — Special Correspondent

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