AFC Cup semi-finalists East Bengal left for Kuwait on Saturday without three players and four club officials as they are yet to get their visa. The Kolkata club had announced a 19-member squad for the first leg but skipper Mehtab Hossain and defenders Arnab Mondal and Gurwinder Singh couldn’t travel as they were not granted visa along with four members of the non-technical staff.
East Bengal eventually left with 16 players, head coach Marcos Falopa, goalkeeping coach-cum-physical trainer Americo Falopa and other member of the support staff. The red-and-gold brigade are confident of getting the visa for the three players and four officials by Sunday afternoon so that they can take an evening flight tomorrow but are understandably frustrated with the whole situation.
This comes after their request of postponing the first leg of their semi-final against Kuwait SC was rejected and the Kolkata giants called a press conference on Saturday evening to express their disappointment about the whole visa issue.
The club confirmed that they have informed the matter to AIFF and are hopeful that an investigation will be done as they clearly feel that this chain of events has unsettled the team ahead of one of the biggest games in the club’s history.
Although they didn’t go on record about it, East Bengal suspect conspiracy from Kuwait SC and have also suffered a financial loss of more than Rs. 3 lakh due to the cancellation and re-purchase of their air tickets.
Even if the visas of the seven remaining members are granted on Sunday the damage has already been done as midfield general Mehtab and central defenders Arnab and Gurwinder will be able to have just one training session in Kuwait before the first leg on Tuesday.Published 28 Sep 2013, 21:40 IST