Calcutta: The East Bengal trio of captain Mehtab Hussain, Arnab Mondal and Gurwinder Singh, along with four officials, got their no objection papers on Sunday afternoon and left for Kuwait in the evening. They are expected to land in Kuwait City in the wee hours of Monday.
East Bengal play Kuwait SC in the first leg of the AFC Cup semi-final, on Tuesday.
Mehtab, Arnab, Gurwinder and the four officials could not board the flight on Saturday along with the rest of the contingent due to visa-related issues.
That the players were forced to stay back had angered coach Marcos Falopa on Saturday itself. It also disrupted East Bengal’s practice schedule as was evident from Sunday’s training. The coach found it difficult to get the right defensive combination in Arnab’s absence.
“We are in for trouble... With no Arnab and Mehtab, we could not practice the way the coach would have liked us to,” a senior player said.
East Bengal players were also not happy with the facilities provided by the hosts. “There’s no drinking water... The hosts had promised sufficient supply of drinking water but that didn’t happen. The hotel authorities have only provided two bottles of water for each member. This is ridiculous,” the player said.
East Bengal’s problem does not end there. After they landed in Kuwait at 2.30 am local time, it was found that Robert Lalthlamuana’s visa-on-arrival papers were left at the hotel by Kuwait SC officials. “The players had to go to the hotel and get the document. Robert was made to wait at the immigration counter for two-and-half hours,” Alvito D’Cunha told The Telegraph from Kuwait City.
While there is a huge discontentment within the team after the entire episode, the club officials are also livid.
They have already sent a letter to Asian Football Confederation (AFC) via the AIFF. They had also requested the AFC to postpone the match, but the Asian body rejected their proposal.