India vs Jordan: Friendly will go ahead as scheduled despite team's late arrival
India's friendly against Jordan, to be played in Amman on Saturday, November 17 at 10.30 pm IST, will go ahead as scheduled despite the team's late arrival in Amman due to flash floods in the Middle-East.
The speculation was rife that the friendly would get cancelled as seven members of the Indian national football reached Jordan late on Friday after a 32-hour delay at the Kuwait International Airport. These players received their luggage and kits only on Saturday morning but the All India Football Federation has confirmed that the show will go on.
"Amidst torrential downpour along with lightning and thunder which has inundated Kuwait City with heavy flooding, forced postponements and cancellation of several flights, seven players -- Jeje Lalpekhlua, Balwant Singh, Manvir Singh, Sumeet Passi, Udanta Singh, Halicharan Narzary, Ashique Kuruniyan - along with some members of the support staff were left stranded for over 32 hours at the Kuwait International Airport en route to Amman," the AIFF said in a statement.
"To add to all the dismay and frustration, the luggage including player’s kits, team equipment and personal belongings of all the players and support staff also went missing when they landed in Amman.
"However, the match, the first-ever International Friendly between the two countries will kick-off as scheduled on Saturday (November 17) at IST 10.30pm and will be telecast live on Star Sports Network," the AIFF added.
The Indian national team players left for Jordan in two groups via Kuwait - one plane had seven players and the other 15 along with the coach. The first batch reached Kuwait and was stuck there for more than 24 hours as the government had suspended air route because of the floods. The other flight was diverted to Doha and those players managed to reach Amman on Friday morning.
The players who were waiting for their flight from Kuwait managed to reach Amman only at 11 pm IST on Friday after a long delay at the Kuwait International Airport.
India coach Stephen Constantine had to cancel a practice session on Friday, a day before the match, as his full team wasn't even available. Even the pre-match press conference did not take place on Friday.
The match could not be rescheduled for Sunday as Jordan have to play against Saudi Arabia only two days later.
India will now take the field against Jordan without any practice before the game. It's still a good exercise for the Indian team which had to survive the ordeal in Kuwait.
The Jordan FA, in a tweet, said it would be donating the money generated through ticket sales towards the country's flood relief programme.
The game is seen as a preparatory test for India ahead of their 2019 Asian Cup campaign in UAE. They held China goalless in Suzhou last month and are not scheduled to play another friendly in this international window. India will face Oman just before the Asian Cup in January 2019.