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Our strikers can't smell a goal coming their way: Bhutia

Written by: Staff
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Kolkata, May 18 (UNI) With the NFL almost reaching its death end, talismanic striker Baichung Bhutia, who has been shinning through again feels the bane of homegrown forwards is 'poor anticipation and reading of the game'.

The current edition of the National Football League once again smacked on the face a lack of India's strike-force.

For someone who has been carrying the bullwark of Indian and club soccer for the last decade, Baichung feels that Indian strikers do not score that often because ''they lack the smell of being in the right place. They dont read a situation and take chances that might be in the offing.'' ''Being in the right place is the most important thing. Being at the right time can be worked on. But a good striker must be able to foresee the future so to say,'' Baichung, who is the second highest scorer with 12 goals in the NFL, told UNI here today.

In fact he is the only Indian player in the top six strikers of the club soccer in the country. The list is headed by Ranty Martins Soleye (Dempo SC) with 14 goals.

The third highest scores with eight goals is MacPherlin Dudu Omagbemi (Sporting Clube) and Yakubu Yusif (Mahindra United). Those with seven goals are Jose Ramirez Barreto (Mahindra United) and Chidi Edeh (Sporting Clube de Goa).

Only Shanmugam Venkatesh with four goals for Mahindra United is the other Indian in the top list that features Bashiree Mohammed Abbas (Air-India) and Roberto Mendes Silva (Dempo SC) with same number of strikes.

Baichung, who picked up five man-of-the-match awards enroute East Bengal's climb to the runner-up's position, said, ''I have a lot of fire and hunger in me to score goals. Every game is a new match and a new battle and I start fresh.'' ''I take one match at a time and feel it an obligation towards the fans to score,'' he said.

''There is a lot of pressure to perform and the people will always expect you to give more than 100 per cent. While that is not possible as the body is fragile, in spirit one has to double the effort to make up for it,'' Baichung, who shares one hattrick with Ranty, said.

''The ability to score is someting that a player is born with.

One has to get the smell of a goal and the killer instinct comes with skill,'' Bhutia said.

''It will come as the players start to work sincerely and perform with a kind of dooggedness that we admire in others,'' said Baichung, who showed what it was like to capitalise on opportunity when he followed an innocuous pass from the Sporting Clube goalie to a defender to pounce on a half chance and score one of the most brilliant goals of the NFL.

UNI BA JYN PM RS1317

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