New Delhi, June 30: Forced to practise out of India due to lack of infrastructure, the national football team was pleasantly surprised with the training facilities at The Sevens, the state of the art rugby complex on the outskirts of Dubai, to prepare for their Nehru Cup title defence at home in August.
Star striker and national captain Bhaichung Bhutia and midfielder Steven Dias were all praise for the facilities at The Sevens, which is the new home of rugby in the middle-east. The complex is spread over 3.6 million square metres and is 20 minutes drive from the city.
‘Training at The Sevens has been a great experience. I wish we had such infrastructure at home. It is not just a rugby stadium. They have facilities for football, cricket and basketball,’ Dias told IANS from Dubai.
The Sevens, which hosted the Rugby Sevens World Cup in March, has a capacity of 40,000. It also has four training grounds with temporary stands. The club house and the sports complex have provision for tennis, squash, basketball and badminton as well as a gymnasium and swimming pool.
Bhutia said in the morning the players have gym and swimming sessions and practise in the evening.
‘In the morning its tough to play outdoors because of the heat, so we have our on-field training in the evening. It is much cooler in the evenings and the training session is helping us to get back our fitness,’ he said.
The Indian team will practise in the desert city till July 7 and will then fly to Barcelona for a month-long camp during which they will also play some practice matches against local clubs.