Size matters for Indian soccer federation

MUMBAI - Tall, strong and physically imposing --- that's the new mantra for talent scouts in Indian soccer.

Skill-wise, India is on a par with other nations but the team lacks physique, All India Football Federation's technical director Colin Joseph Toal said this week at an under-13 soccer festival in the eastern Indian city of Jamshedpur.

"Hence, we are focusing on talented footballers with good height and strong physique," the United Kingdom-based Toal said.

India is ranked 20th in Asia after clinching the AFC Challenge Cup last August, a victory that secured them an Asian Cup berth.

The national team has shown improved results in the last two years under British coach Bob Houghton but are still ranked 142nd in the world. On Wednesday they lost 2-1 in a friendly to Hong Kong.