Captain of Indian Football team to YT: “Luck was on the Yemeni Side” [Archives:2001/20/Culture]

May 14 2001

The Indian football team played on Friday, 4 May a match with the Yemeni team in Al-Thawra Stadium of Sana’a. This visit by the Indian team came close on the heels of the Yemeni team’s visit to India Both the matches ended in a draw. During a reception dinner hosted at Taj Sheba hotel, Sana’a’, in honor of the visiting team, Dr. Ramakanta Sahu, met them and snatched a few moments from the hectic schedule of the team Captain Mr. Bhaichung Bhutia and the goalkeeper Mr. M. Balaji to file this interview.

RKS: How would you assess your team’s performance in the match with Yemen?
BB: Our players played with a lot of promise. But we were quite unlucky. We should have, in fact, come out with 3 points.

RKS: What in your estimation went wrong?
BB: Yemen scored two early goals and that put them on the lead over us. In the second half we started well. But unfortunately we could not cash in the opportunities available to us.

RKS: What will be you strategies for the forthcoming matches you are going to play in Brunei and other places?
BB: Well. We would like to maintain better coordination between the defense and the midfield players and not repeat the defense lapses.

RKS: Good luck to you and your team mates.
BB: Thank you.
RKS: Mr. Balaji. As the goalkeeper of the Indian team, what are your views about the outcome of the match?
MB: We had to win the match. But we conceded all the three goals. We played well. But luck was on their side.

RKS: How would you like to change your game plan?
MB: We have to give a better report about ourselves in defense as well as in the attack. Our scoring was good, but there is scope for improvement. Had Bhutia been there, we hope to have a better goal margin. We’ll also miss him for the next match.

RKS: Why was Mr. Bhutia shown a red card?
MB: The Referee was pretty tough with him. It was an unfortunate eventuality. Yet we would try to do our best.

RKS: All our best wishes are with you for a glorious performance.
MB: Thanks a lot to you and the Yemen Times.