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ISL 2016: Aaron Hughes to miss Kerala Blasters' next two home matches

1.02K   //    02 Nov 2016, 23:27 IST
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 21:  Aaron Hughes of Northern Ireland applauds the supporters after his team's 0-1 defeat in the UEFA EURO 2016 Group C match between Northern Ireland and Germany at Parc des Princes on June 21, 2016 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
International duty again!

Kerala Blasters will be without their captain and marquee signing, Aaron Hughes for their next two matches once again. The centre-back has been called up by Northern Ireland manager, Michael O'Neill for their 2 World Cup qualifiers next week.

Northern Ireland will be taking on Azerbaijan and Croatia in their World Cup qualifiers on November 11th and 16th. FIFA rule makes it compulsory for clubs to let their players leave 5 days before the match if it is being held in another continent. This means that Hughes will not be able to play in the Yellow Brigade’s home matches against FC Goa on November 8th and Chennaiyin FC on November 12th.

An excerpt from the FIFA rule book:

The player shall also be released for the period of preparation. If the player is called up to play in a qualifying match for an international competition, this period shall be 4 days (including the day of the match). The period of release shall be prolonged to 5 days if the match in question is held on a different continent to that on which the club is domiciled

This is not the first time Aaron Hughes is going to miss a Kerala Blasters match this season because of International duty. Hughes was also called up early in October for Northern Ireland’s World Cup qualifiers and he missed out on the Blaster’s first two home games. Atletico de Kolkata defeated the Blasters in the first match while the team from God’s Own Country were held to a 0-0 draw by Delhi in the other fixture.

Steve Coppell would be hoping that Aaron Hughes is just a back-up for Norther Ireland and not a starter so that he can avoid injuries and fatigue. After coming back from the International duty, Hughes will have a minimum of 4 matches to play in the ISL group stage along within a span of 16 days.

Those 4 matches will be highly crucial as well as they will determine if Kerala Blasters can make it through to the semi-finals or not. The former Fulham star is the captain of the Kerala Blasters and he has led the defence that has conceded just 2 goals in their 4 matches when Hughes has played.

Steve Coppell does have a backup option for Hughes with Pratik Chaudhari coming in as a right back and Sandesh Jhingan moving to the centre of the defence with Cedric  Hegbart . Coppell does not have time to think of the two matches he's going to miss Hughes in right now as the Kerala Blasters take on 3rd placed Delhi Dynamos away from home on Friday.

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