Sir — Scores of people have died in terrorist attacks since the United Progressive Alliance came to power (“We knew but not when and where”, Aug 26) . After every blast, Shivraj Patil, the home minister, announces compensations and blames our neighbours for the crime. The matter is then put to rest. Nothing much is done in the way of bringing the guilty to book or preventing such deadly acts. In a democracy, everyone, including the home minister, is accountable to the people. Patil must be asked to resign if he cannot ensure the safety of citizens.
Tusar Kanti Kar, Howrah
The second coming
Sir — Who would have thought that India would win the Nehru Cup, beating Syria who are placed much higher in the Fifa rankings (“Kick De, India, Aug 30”) ' India’s success can be attributed to the coaching skills of Bob Houghton, who helped the team achieve an improbable win. One should also acknowledge the fact that the unity among the players helped the side overcome the odds and taste success.
There are a number of young players in this Indian side. They have shown a lot of promise and would hopefully carry on their winning streak in the future. India’s victory over Syria prompted the legendary Chuni Goswami to comment that young people would now turn their backs on cricket and hopefully take up soccer. Football-lovers in India share Goswami’s sentiments.
The Nehru Cup win would perhaps result in sponsors, the media and the people joining hands to bring back the glory days of Indian football.
Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee, Faridabad
Sir — The Indian soccer team has made the nation proud by winning the Nehru Cup for the first time in 56 years. The government must immediately sanction adequate funds to develop the game further in the country. It should also try and build world-class grounds as well as coaching academies. The Indian coach, Bob Houghton, should also be given a raise following his stellar role in the victory. Cricket is fast losing its popularity in India and the win against Syria has come at an appropriate time. One expects this triumph would renew people’s interest in football in India.
A.S. Mehta, Calcutta
Sir — “Bob does what Greg could not” (Aug 30) was a touch unfair to Greg Chappell. Houghton, despite his credible showing as the coach of the Indian football team, cannot match Chappell’s impeccable sporting credentials. It is true that India failed to make a mark at the cricket World Cup in the West Indies. But before blaming Chappell for the debacle, one must reflect on the fact that the cricket World Cup features some of the best sides in the world. On the contrary, the Nehru Cup, which India won, did not feature a single world-class football team. Syria is certainly a better team than India but it cannot be compared to the footballing giants of Europe and South America. I would be happy if India were to do well in the World Cup qualifiers. However, it would be interesting to see how our team fares against some of the better sides in Asian football.
Aamir Sajjad Ahmed, Calcutta
Sir — In the final, the Syrians did not play the game in the right spirit. They committed a lot of fouls and one of their players got a red card for his efforts. Thankfully, Pradeep’s goal and the constant cheering from the stands put the match beyond their reach. Football fans in India can now hope to see a spirited performance from their team when they take on their fancied rivals during the upcoming World Cup qualifiers that are around the corner.
M. Basu, Calcutta