Bob Houghton Resigns, What Is In Store For Indian Football?




Bob Houghton

Bob Houghton

Yesterday all football loving citizens of this great country called India woke up to the heartbreaking news of the resignation of Bob Houghton, news which we were highly fearful of hearing sometime in the future but definitely not so soon. But the fear is now a reality and Bob Houghton, the coach of the Indian National Football Team for 5 years has finally resigned.

Bob Houghton’s tenure has been a mixed bag comprising of rare successes and failures, of pride and insult, on one hand loved by the players and the fans and on the other constantly derided by the association. A football coach of the Indian National Team understands quickly in their tenure that their real fight is not against spotting talents and improvising on them but to effectively handle the association. And Bob had done it with resounding success like no previous predecessor. But like all valiant one man crusaders, this British coach finally succumbed to the might of the AIFF.

When Bob Houghton came to the picture, the team was in tatters. He built a strong morale and team spirit, brought Baichung Bhutia out of retirement and started shaping the national team. We as football fans were skeptical of it. However the Nehru Cup triumph was the icing on the cake. When we beat Syria 1-0 in the final, thousands of young sports lovers, left with no other choice but to support the cricket team, rejoiced with glee and hope that finally India had arrived at the football map. And surely we did. What followed was an AFC Challenge Cup win which gave us a backdoor entry into the Asian Championships, a chance to rub shoulders with the best and the mighty. The two wins were definitely bisected by the horror of losing the SAFF Championships to Maldives but now the Indian Football Fraternity started believing in bigger dreams.

AIFF, all these times had no choice but to quietly agree to the terms and conditions of Bob. Foreign practice stints followed which did the team a world of good. But we all were looking forward to the ultimate thing, Asia Cup. And India certainly didn’t disappoint there. Pitted in the group of death, they managed to evoke some strong performances against the likes of Australia, Bahrain and South Korea.

However the AIFF has strongly come out against Bob Houghton leveling racial charges against him for his outburst at an Indian referee and also demanding explanation for the poor performance at Qatar.

Although we all had expected a little better performance from the team, truth to be told, I would just ask the association one question as to whether they really have a plan B after Houghton resigned. Only time will tell. But what is certain that if quick steps are not taken to ensure proper rise of football, it can return back to oblivion and to the dark ages.

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A complete fanatic about the most beautiful game in the World.

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