The Telegraph
Friday , February 28 , 2014
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Curious case of ‘missing’ Uga

Uga Okpara

Calcutta: With a day to go before the I-League Derby, East Bengal are still unsure about Uga Okpara and his whereabouts.

The Nigerian central defender, who reportedly left for home for the treatment of hamstring injury, is yet to return. Neither players nor club officials seem to have any idea about Okpara’s return.

“We really don’t know about Uga,” was all captain Mehtab Hussain could say, after Thursday’s practice session.

Club sources had earlier said that Okpara would be back on Wednesday night. But till Thursday evening, he was not in town. The buzz is Okpara could return in the wee hours of Friday.

It was learnt that Okpara is already done with his treatment. And here’s what club secretary Kalyan Majumdar had to say. “I’ve heard Uga will be back by tomorrow. We’ll speak to him once he his back and then decide if he has breached the code of conduct,” he said.

“It won’t be of much use even if Uga is back on Friday since he has already been ruled of Saturday’s Derby,” remarked football secretary Santosh Bhattacharya.

The footballer’s presence in the defence would have definitely benefited East Bengal in Saturday’s crunch game against Mohun Bagan. Armando Colaco’s men are certainly going through a tough period, as there are doubts over Edeh Chidi too.

East Bengal, though, remain optimistic about the availability of Chidi, who did attend the day’s practice for around half-an-hour before heading off to the gym. “Chidi started jogging today. He’s looking better… We’re hopeful of getting him on Saturday,” Mehtab said.

Meanwhile, Dan Magness, a UK-based football freestyler, will present a show of football jugglery during interval.