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Assam denied football action again after Yemen friendly cancellation

The cancellation of the India – Yemen international friendly comes as a huge disappointment for Indian football fans especially as the match was also set to be telecasted live nationwide. But it’s the state of Assam who will be hurt the most as the city of Guwahati was getting ready to host their second-ever international match.

Last year’s friendly between India and Malaysia in Guwahati, which ended 1-1, was also the first-ever international match to take place in the north-east part of the country.

The match was witnessed by more than 25,000 spectators at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium and much of that credit must go to the Assam state football association for arranging special buses for the fans.

Another full house was also expected for the game against Yemen but for the third time this calendar year Assam will be denied some quality football action.

Back in August, the Federation Cup was moved out of Guwahati due to the political unrest in the state. Matches of two quarter-final groups were allotted to the city but after participating clubs raised concerns about the security of the place, the games were shifted to Ranchi, although eventually it was Jamshedpur that hosted those matches.

Due to security concerns, a friendly match between United Sikkim and New Zealand club Wellington Phoenix was also shifted from Guwahati to Imphal in August. The match was part of the North-East Lajong Super Series.

Assam FA secretary and AIFF vice-president Ankur Dutta however remains confident that India’s next home FIFA friendly will take place in Guwahati.

“I know it is disappointing for the people of Assam but I am confident that our next home friendly on a FIFA match date will be played in Guwahati,” he told Sportskeeda.

India youth international and Pailan Arrows striker Holicharan Narzary, who hails from Assam, also expressed disappointment.

“It is a big setback for my state because there is a lot of passion for football there. We don’t get to see any I-League matches there so first the Federation Cup got cancelled here and now the international friendly. The people will be hurt,” the 18-year-old told Sportskeeda.

The passion for football in Assam was evident last year during the Malaysia game and the whole India team was looking forward to play there again and make the most of home advantage.

India captain Sunil Chhetri had stated “It was a great feeling to have played in Guwahati in front of a full house in an international friendly against Malaysia last year. The passion for the sport in the state stays unparalleled and we expect another full house cheering for us against Yemen.”

The football-crazy state of Assam will have to wait a bit longer for their next international match.

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