Visa issue hurts East Bengal's preparations
Three East Bengal footballers, who were held back here after visa problems, left for Kuwait via Dubai yesterday to take part in the away-leg of the AFC Cup semi-final outing against title holders Kuwait SC slated for tomorrow.
Three key footballers — skipper Mehtab Hossain, Arnab Mondal and Gurwinder Singh — could not accompany the rest of the squad on Saturday and had to return from the NSC Bose International Airport as their visa papers were yet to arrive.
The trio finally took the 8:30 pm Emirates Airlines Flight to Dubai yesterday. “Their visa documents arrived earlier in the day. They all left alongside four other officials who also got stuck on Saturday due to the same problem,” club assistant general secretary Santi Ranjan Dasgupta told IANS.
An angry club secretary Kalyan Majumdar had earlier sent protest letters to the Asian Football Confederation and the All India Football Federation, seeking a probe into Saturday’s happening, which he termed as a “conspiracy” to rattle the team.
East Bengal became only the second Indian club, after Dempo, to reach the AFC Cup semis with a 2-1 aggregate win over Indonesia’s Semen Padang.
The return leg of the semi-final would be held here on October 22.
Mumbai FC hold Dempo
AN Anwar Ali goal four minutes before full-time ensured a 1-1 draw for Mumbai FC against Dempo SC in an I-League encounter at Pune’s Balewadi Stadium yesterday. Jeje Lalpekhlua had given Dempo the lead just before half-time.