India to play Chinese Taipei in Goa tomorrow

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Panaji, May 23 (UNI) India will play two exhibition football matches against Chinese Taipei and the first one is scheduled at Nehru Stadium Fatorda in Margao tomorrow.

The second match will be held at Chennai on May 27. Both these matches are being held ahead of the SAFF tournament in Colombo on May 31.

The exhibition matches hold significance as the final 20 players for the SAFF tournament will be selected on the basis of the performance of the players in these matches. The 20 would be selected from the 31 players who are presently attending the coaching camp at Cuncolim in South Goa.

India coach Bob Houghton is confident that his team will win the first preparatory match in Goa tomorrow.

Though India ranks 151 and Chinese Taipei 176 in the FIFA standing, Houghton said, ''Ranking will not make any difference.

we will play our game in all seriousness as it is very important to prepare well before leaving for SAFF Cup.'' For the last six months, India had not played any international match, Houghton said while adding that over the next two months, India will play altogehter 17 international matches, which includes the matches for the SAFF Cup, the AFC Challene Cup and matches in Portugal.

Houghton also announced the eleven-member squad for tomorrow's match. They include: Subroto Paul (goal-keeper), Surkumar Singh, N P Pradeep, Mahesh Gawali, Gouramangi Singh, Deepak Mondal, Bungo Singh, Climax Lawrence, Renedy Singh, Bhaichung Bhutia and Sunil Chetri.

Baldeep Singh and Stevan Dias are not fit for tomorrow's match but both may play the next match in Chennai, Houghton said.

Though Ajayan is fit, he is down with flu. Anthony Pereira and goalkeeper Sandeep Nandi have been ruled out.

Chinese Taipei coach Po-Houng Lee said as a part of their preparation for the AFC Challenge Cup, his team would do well against India tomorrow. ''I watched India in the Asia Cup qualifier and they looked good. Our's is a youthful team,'' the coach said adding, ''We will be able to counter India's key players. India might have prepared well, but our way of playing is different.'' He said his team will stress more on defence and then go offensive. ''We will not be able to field the full-fledged team tomorrow as some of the key players are nursing injuries,'' he added.

The coach said, ''I don't have much knowledge about the rivals, but I have been given to understand that striker Bhaichung Bhutia is a good player and has also played for an English club, Bury Football Club.'' The Chinese team for tomorrow's match will be from: Kui-Chi Lu, Ming-Feng Tu, Kuei-Pin Lin, Chun-Yikuo, Checha Hsu, Chien-wei Liang, Han Chang, Po-Liang Chen, Wei-Lun Chuang, Shih-Lu Chiang, Meng-Hsuan Hsieh, Hsien-Chung Yeh, Ming Han Chiang, Hsiang-Yu Hsu, Hao-Chieh Kao, Wu-Yeh Chang, Shih-Cheng Hung, Yi-Wei Chen, Meng-Hsien Chen and Shan-Fu Chen.

UNI SRN MAZ RKM HT1747

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