Indian football team suffered yet another blow before their Asian Cup opening match against Australia on Monday as striker Sushil Singh will not be available for two matches because of a pending ban on him.
Sushil is yet to serve a two-match ban after he was shown a red card against North Korea in the 2010 AFC Challenge Cup in Sri Lanka.
India took part in the AFC Challenge Cup in February 2010 under the charge of Sukhwinder Singh and All India Football Federation apparently did not inform coach Bob Houghton about this.
Sushil's pending two-match ban was told by the AFC at the manager's meeting ahead of India's Asian Cup opening match against Australia on Monday.
Sushil trained with the national squad for the last eight months, travelling with the team in UAE and Portugal camps.
He was given a 15 per cent hike as he was under contract for eight months with AIFF since June 2010, just like any other players in the national squad as part of the programme to prepare for the Asian Cup.
The incident added embarrassment to the AIFF after the registration drama of captain Bhaichung Bhutia.
Bhutia, who was struggling to recover from a calf muscle injury, was first de-registered as a player to make him an official to pep up the morale of his team-mates only to be re-registered again as a player.
With Sushil only available for the third and last Group C match against South Korea on January 18 and Bhutia's availability doubtful, India are left with only Sunil Chhetri and Abhisek Yadav as strikers.