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ISL 2017: FC Goa players left stranded in airport after jet catches fire, ATK game in doubt?

According to regulations, a team must reach the venue 90 minutes ahead of kickoff.

FEATURED COLUMNIST
News 03 Jan 2018, 14:57 IST
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FC Goa's flight to Kolkata has been delayed. (Photo: ISL/ Representational Image)
FC Goa's flight to Kolkata has been delayed. (Photo: ISL/ Representational Image)

What’s the story?

FC Goa's match against ATK could be in grave doubt as their players were left stranded at the Dabolim airport after a jet caught fire, on Wednesday.

Indian Super League club FC Goa’s preparations for their clash with Kolkata-based ATK on Wednesday was earlier dealt a huge blow after their chartered flight to Kolkata was forced to crash land. The team was scheduled to reach Kolkata a day before the match, on Tuesday, and had boarded the flight on time. However, a technical issue delayed their scheduled arrival.

The team will now land in the City of Joy on the day of the game, just a few hours before the scheduled kickoff.

In case you didn’t know…

According to ISL regulations, a team must report at the venue at least 90 minutes before kick-off. Although there are no regulations as to when the team should reach the city, most teams prefer to do so at least a day beforehand so that they have time to acclimatise to the conditions.

The heart of the story

The match between ATK and FC Goa was initially scheduled to be held on 31st December 2017. However, the fixtures were rescheduled which meant that the match would be held on 3rd January 2018. Previously, Goa’s coach Sergio Lobera had said that such changes could affect the final league standings as all plans, with regard to the flights and stay, had to be changed.

The Goan side was unable to get all their players and technical staff on a single flight on such short notice and had, consequently, chartered a flight to reach Kolkata on Tuesday.

Lobera wanted to train on the eve of the match at Goa before flying out to Kolkata in the evening. However, an unfortunate turn of events hurt his plans.

The 40-member team did board the flight from Dabolim airport in Goa on Tuesday itself, but only after a couple of delays. The journey, though, ran into a snag just a few minutes after takeoff as the flight developed technical issues.

While they were rescheduled to take a flight to Kolkata on Wednesday morning another setback occurred as a jet caught fire on the runway, which was closed off by the Air Force. The latest update suggests that the runway has now been cleared.

What’s next?

The team is expected to reach Kolkata sometime around noon which means they will only have a few hours to recuperate before kickoff. They were expected to board a flight earlier today morning from Goa.

Author’s take

It is a major setback for the Goan team and it remains to be seen how Lobera and the team respond to this. To recuperate and take the field just a few hours after flying is no easy task but all the players are professionals, after all.

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