Kolkata: The Indian football team is currently practising for the SAFF Games at the Sports Authority of India grounds in Kolkata. The Indian team though will have to contend with playing minus some of their star players including Baichung Bhutia, Tomba Singh and Mahesh Gawali. India first takes on Pakistan in Bangladesh on January 10 and that promises to be a nail biter. Debjit Ghosh, captain, Indian football team, said, "Our biggest tension right now is that the first game is against Pakistan, which is always the big one. Any game, whether it is hockey, cricket or anything else, if it's against Pakistan, is always a game of nerves." But injuries to key players have the team worried. The one man whose absence will probably be most felt is Bhutia, who was ruled out of the team due to a calf muscle injury. But the inclusion of football's grand old man, I M Vijayan, has brought some cheer to the team. Team coach Stephen Constantine, said, "They are a tremendous loss in any side, in any tournament. But we've got the old man Vijayan in the team. His experience will be invaluable." India will be looking to do an encore of its performance in the LG Cup in Vietnam last year. But with eight teams vying for the SAFF Games title, India have their task cut out if they wish to make it to the finals on January 20.
Topics : Football