Monday, 30th October 2017

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Trouble before SAFF camp

The unending club-versus-national-team debate has once again raised its head as some ISL franchises, led by Bengaluru FC, have refused to release players for the SAFF championship preparatory camp here.

By Our Special Correspondent
  • Published 26.07.18
  •  
Sunil Chetri

New Delhi: The unending club-versus-national-team debate has once again raised its head as some ISL franchises, led by Bengaluru FC, have refused to release players for the SAFF championship preparatory camp here.

According to All India Football Federation (AIFF) sources, the ISL teams have questioned the logic behind a 45-day camp beginning Saturday and said they are in no position to release players for such a long period.

"Since the SAFF tournament will be played from September 4-15 in Bangladesh and the ISL will begin almost immediately, the Bangalore franchise have asked what is the need for keeping players away from the club for 45 days," said an AIFF official.

Chief coach Stephen Constantine has called 34 players, all but one in the under-23 age group, for the camp. India are the defending champions.

While only one player is from I-League, there is a plan to take the boys to Australia in mid-August for friendlies.

Though there is little chance of the camp beginning in time, the AIFF hopes to break the deadlock after discussing the issue with Constantine, who is expected to return to India on Thursday.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the technical committee of the federation appointed Floyd Pinto as the chief coach of Indian Arrows in place of Luis Norton de Matos. The Portuguese coach has resigned citing personal problems.