High hopes on Bhutia in Asian Cup

Updated: 25 February 2007 10:38 IST

The national soccer team heads to Yokohama for the Asian Cup qualifier against Japan with Bhaichung Bhutia heading it.

New Delhi:

The national soccer team heads to Yokohama for the Asian Cup qualifier against Japan with Bhaichung Bhutia heading it. Back to full fitness now, the ace forward says he is up to the task, and raring to go. "I guess the team is shaping up, it's a completely new team again this time," said Bhutia, the captain of Indian football team. India is in the Group of Death in the Asian qualifiers having been drawn with Japan, Yemen and Saudi Arabia. As the team heads to Japan for the first match next Wednesday, Bhutia has to make sure that his young team combines well to avoid another humiliating defeat to the hosts. The hosts are ranked over 100 places above India in the world ratings. The East Bengal star insists that the twin pressures of captaincy and goal-scoring do not affect him. "On the whole I think it's very important that the team plays well, because it's a team-game after all, and we've got to stay focused and give our best". Speaking about team fitness, coach Syed Nayeemuddin said: "Mentally they are very strong, very disciplined, very committed, taking this match very seriously and not feeling inferior".

Topics : Football
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