While on Dubai tour, Bhaichung Bhutia spoke to a newspaper in the Middle East and stated that Indian should draw inspiration from North Korea, who have recently qualified for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa...
“I think we need to draw inspiration from North Korea. Their national team has been together for three years and they have qualified to the 2010 FIFA World Cup. A few years back, we drew against North Korea.
“In a developing country like ours there are bound to be difficulties, but the national team has to be supported because if they don't do well then no one is going to benefit,” Bhaichung was quoted saying.
The Sikkimese Sniper was asked about his vision for India and like most Indians, he stated that qualification for the World Cup is the greatest dream.
“My vision is to see India qualify for the FIFA World Cup. Of course, there are a lot of things that need to be changed starting with the grassroots, the youth development programmes and the infrastructure.
“The under-14s and under-16s and under-18s need to have qualified coaches. Here it's not about the Indian population; it's more about infrastructure and development,” said the Indian skipper.
Bhaichung added that following Bob Houghton’s appointment as the national coach, things have changed in Indian football, which comprises of the federation, players, fans and scribes included.
“There have been a lot of changes under coach Bob Houghton. The AIFF (All India Football Federation) has given him a lot of support. On the whole, it's been difficult, but it's a good first step.
“I think the change has been in the mind. It has been a big challenge to alter this mindset among people (media, the fans, the officials and the clubs),” said the 32 year old.
The star striker was also quizzed about his future plans and that whether he would until the all important 2011 Asian Cup in Qatar.
“I could be playing till 2018. At the moment, my mind says, "Yes, I want to play till 2011,” he added.