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Brazilian boost for Indian football

By Syed Firdaus Ashraf traveling with the prime minister
Last updated on: September 12, 2006 15:30 IST
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East Bengal has a Carlos Roberto Da Pereira. And Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is hopeful that more coaches from Brazil make the eastward journey to make India a competitive football nation.

Dr Singh will put in a word with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, asking for his country's help to improve India's football skills.

Speaking to reporters aboard Air-India One, the special flight taking the prime minister to Brazil, Dr Singh said, "Brazil's credentials as a football power are well-known. (All India Football Federation president and Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister) Mr Priyaranjan Dasmunsi has asked me to raise this matter with the government of Brazil."

During his three-day visit to Brazil, Dr Singh is not scheduled to meet any of that nation's great footballers. His trip to the South American country is restricted to business and national affairs.

Dr Singh felt there is no harm if Brazilian coaches train Indian footballers. "If cooperation with other countries gets help from coaches in these countries, I don't see anything wrong in that."

Pereira took up the job with East Bengal in July on a one-year contract.

India is ranked 128 among 200 nations in the FIFA World Football Rankings.

The All India Football Federation recently appointed Englishman Bob Houghton as the national football coach. Houghton became the second foreigner to be appointed India coach after Cypriot Stephen Constantine.

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Syed Firdaus Ashraf traveling with the prime minister