Following their two month training camp in Portugal, a friendly game in Bangkok plus nearly three weeks of training and two practice matches in the capital New Delhi, Team India have now shifted their base to Pune for training ahead of their next three international friendlies. The team is preparing for the 2011 AFC Asian Cup to be played in Qatar next January.
The team flew from Delhi to Pune yesterday and today had their first training session at the Bharati Vidyapeeth Educational Complex football ground in Dhankawadi. Not all 30 players could train as chief coach Bob Houghton has a number of injuries, which is worrying our experienced coach. Amongst the absentees from the training session was captain Baichung Bhutia, who injured himself in the last friendly against Namibia. Baichung could be back in training in a couple of weeks and he aims to play the third and final friendly in Pune.
The international friendlies for October have now been confirmed by the AIFF. On October 4 India will face Hongkong, then on October 8 India take on Vietnam, while on October 13 India will clash with Yemen. All matches will be played at the Balewadi Sports Complex in Pune. And after the clash with Yemen the players will be getting off for two to three weeks after spending three and a half months together.