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By ESPN Staff
May 27, 2006

Houghton poised to become new coach of India

NEW DELHI, May 27 (Reuters) - England's Bob Houghton is set to be appointed India coach ahead of former Ireland boss Brian Kerr, a senior soccer official said on Saturday.

'The federation feels Houghton will be more suitable, he knows the conditions better,' the official, who wished to remain anonymous, said.

He added that a formal announcement would be made soon after terms for a three-year contract were agreed on by both sides.

The 58-year-old Houghton and Kerr were interviewed by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) this week from a shortlist of four coaches, including former Chelsea boss Ian Porterfield and Dutch coach Clemence Weterhof.

India decided to appoint a foreigner as their third coach in less than a year after a poor display in the two Asian Cup qualifiers against Japan and Yemen under former national captain Syed Nayeemuddin, who had replaced compatriot Sukhwinder Singh.

The federation bosses are hoping that an experienced foreign coach would help revive the team, among the best in Asia in the 1950's and 1960's but currently ranked 117th in the world.

Houghton has managed China, Uzbekistan and Saudi Arabia while Kerr parted company with Ireland in October after failing to qualify for the World Cup.

Porterfield and Westerhof did not show up for interviews and the Indian federation are looking to complete the process as soon as possible.

Houghton was recommended by the AIFF technical committee both for his past experience with Asian teams and due to his favourable financial terms, the official said.

He is expected to cost the federation around nine million Indian rupees ($196,500) a year while Kerr demanded double the sum as salary and wanted two support staff of his choice.