Calcutta: Amidst the expectations of a possible CFL triumph as early as Wednesday, the mood went a little out of tune for East Bengal on Tuesday as there was confusion around defender Uga Okpara’s fitness status.
Uga has been out of action for quite some time with a hamstring injury. While speculations were rife whether he will be available for the upcoming Federation Cup, the Nigerian’s startling comment took everyone by surprise.
Uga, who did light practice under coach Armando Colaco’s guidance on Tuesday, said on record that his injury is serious enough to keep him out till May.
Asked if he would be fit in time for the Federation Cup, Uga said: “But I’m injured… That is why I’m not playing. I maybe out till May… How will I play in the Federation Cup?”
Colaco, it seemed, was completely unaware of what Uga said. On the sidelines of a media interaction where East Bengal announced SRMB TMT as the co-sponsors for their team for four years, Colaco said: “Did he say so? On record?,” Colaco said with a puzzled look on his face.
Later, however, he said that all hope is not lost. “It actually depends on the strength of an individual as and when he is able to recover from an injury… Uga is improving, otherwise he wouldn’t have practised today. I will ensure that he gets proper fitness training and motivation to recover fully. The Federation Cup is still some days away and let’s hope for the best. I will wait till the last moment before taking a decision,” Colaco said.
Colaco, who will be leaving for Goa after Wednesday’s match and will return on Saturday, also revealed that he would be taking extra players in the squad for the Federation Cup. “I will be ready with extra players in case there’s an emergency… So there’s no need to panic as of now.”