DOHA, Jan 11 (PTI): Indian captain Bhaichung Bhutia remains a doubtful starter ahead of their Friday�s match against Bahrain in the Asian Cup football tournament as he has still not recovered completely from his calf muscle injury, coach Bob Houghton said.
�I don�t know whether Bhaichung would be fit for second match or not. But there is still time to know if he can play. As of now we are going with a plan that he will be fit for the last league match,� Houghton told PTI.
Houghton had named Bhaichung in the 23-member squad despite the Indian captain suffering from a long-standing calf muscle injury. Bhaichung, on his part, said he is hoping he can play against Bahrain and but added that the team management would take a call later.
�I am trying to be fit for the Bahrain match. I am hoping to play but let us see,� said the 34-year-old skipper.
Indians players, who were a part of the opening match against Australia, had a rest day today but the others, including Bhutia had a training session at the Al Wakrah center at the outskirts of the city. Unlike other players, Bhutia only had a light training. He did not stretch himself much and just warmed up with light running. He then ran with the ball, apparently trying to judge how far he has recovered from the calf muscle injury.
Houghton said if India were to compete with the likes of Australia or South Korea and even China, they have to improve the infrastructure and spend money on youth development.
�National team will have to improve if you want to improve the profile of Indian football. When the national team becomes successful, the interest in football will follow it,� said the 63-year-old Englishman.