Short height prevents India from qualifying for World cup: Houghton

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Jamshedpur, Feb 26 (UNI) Indian National Football team coach Bob Houghton has opined that the average height of Indian footballers was proving to be a stumbling block for them from qualifying for the World Cup and competing in the international arena.

Talking to mediapersons, Mr Houghton, who came here to attend a two-day clinic for coaches, organised by the Tata Steel sports department, said on an average, Indian players were at least eight cms shorter than their foreign counterparts.

''Although there are talented footballers in the Indian team like Baichung Bhuita and Mahesh Gawli, the only constraint is that they are short. However, as a group the Indian players should be tall to compete in the international arena and qualify for a prestigious tournament like the World Cup,'' the Team India coach opined.

To a question on whether good height should be made mandatory in his scheme of things, Mr Houghton said he would like to see at least 20 per cent players with 180-82 cm height in his team.

He said even the other Asian teams such as Japan, Saudi Arabia and South Korea had most players of at least 180 cm height.

The coach said despite having good training infrastructure and a large pool of talent, their height and physique was proving to be an impediment to the Indian footballers to make an impact in international tournaments.

Mr Houghton suggested that the academies across the country should induct budding players with good height, train them scientifically and groom them to compete in international tournaments so that the country could have a realistic chance of qualifying for the World Cup.

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