New Delhi: The national football team, which is preparing for the Asian Cup qualifiers, is saddled with injuries. What is even more worrying is that many of the key players may not recover in time for the first game on February 22. "Lawrence will be out for a while. Samir Naik has been injured while Venkatesh has a knee problem. But we have to show that we are in no way inferior," said Syed Nayeemuddin, coach, Indian football team. To add to that, captain Baichung Bhutia is also on the injured list and will be joining the camp only later in the week. Moral support The captain is the mainstay of the Indian team and his presence will make a huge difference to a team of youngsters. According to the fixtures of the year, the youngsters will be defending Asia Cup champions Japan. And playing them on their turf and in hostile weather conditions may pose a tough challenge. "We should not worry as last time the scoreline was 7-4. But we have the potential. I have the tapes of their previous performances and shall show them to the boys," said PK Banerjee, manager, Indian football team. Right balance The Indian football team hardly had any time together after their SAAF Cup victory. The players went back to their respective clubs to play in the national football league and in the process many of them picked up injuries. What perhaps the Federation needs to realise is that these players need to be fit during international engagements. This is to ensure that they strike the right balance between national and international itinerary.
Topics : Football