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Indian football team departs without two players, chef de mission

Source: PTI
September 17, 2023 22:54 IST
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IMAGE: The Igor Stimac-coached Indian football team departed for the Asian Games. Photograph: AIFF/X

Defenders Konsam Chinglensana Singh and Lalchungnunga did not accompany the Indian football team that left the country on Sunday for the Asian Games in China as their visa was not ready but a top IOA official said the duo will get their travel documents in a day or two.

Chinglensana and Lalchungnunga were apparently not in the initial long list of 50 players submitted by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) for the Asian Games and hence they did get their accreditation even though they were named in the 22-member team named in the last minute.

India's Asian Games contingent Chef de Mission Bhupinder Singh Bajwa allayed any fears of the two players missing out of the Asian Games. They will, however, not be available for the first match against China on Tuesday.


"I and AIFF president (Kalyan Chaubey) have applied for express visa for the two players with letter from the sports ministry and the visa should come by tomorrow or day after. The Chinese embassy said normal visa will take seven days but express visa approval takes just two days," Bajwa told PTI.

"They will go (to China) with the express visa and will get their accreditation there. So, there should not be any problem for the two players," he added.

Earlier in the day, India head coach Igor Stimac had said that his team will face a formidable Chinese team on Tuesday after reaching the Games Village on Monday as the AIFF was able to stitch a second-rung squad in the last minute due to non-release of players by the Indian Super League clubs.

After the match against China on September 19, India face Bangladesh (September 21) and Myanmar (September 24) in their group matches. The top two teams from the six groups will make it to the pre-quarterfinals, with four best-ranked third-placed sides also qualifying.

Thirteen players were not released by their respective ISL clubs initially, including Sandesh Jhingan and first-choice goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu. A 17-member team with Sunil Chhetri as the only notable face was named initially.

On Friday, the AIFF announced a revised squad of 22 after hectic parleys with Jhingan in it, besides two more senior players in Chinglensana Singh and Lalchungnunga.

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