There is good news in this time of gloom and despair. Mohun Bagan and East Bengal’s Spanish players, the two coaches (Kibu Vicuna and Mario Rivera), along with Bagan’s assistant coach, Polish national Tomasz Tchorz, physical trainer Paulius Ragauskas (Lithuania), and their family members, will leave for New Delhi on Saturday night.
As all domestic flights are suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic, these 16 foreign nationals will travel by bus to the capital. They will fly out to Amsterdam in the early hours of Tuesday and then to their respective countries.
Vicuna, for example, will travel to Warsaw while Mario to Madrid.
The distance between Calcutta and New Delhi by bus is nearly 1500km. The contingent is expected to spend Sunday night in Varanasi, before reaching New Delhi the next day.
The respective embassies, with help from Mohun Bagan and East Bengal, have made it possible for the foreign nationals to travel home.
“Embassies took the initiative to take the players and their families home. I wish them all a very happy journey,” Bagan’s finance secretary Debasish Dutta said.
Bagan’s Fran Gonzalez is excited to be finally going back to Spain, but at the same time the arduous bus trip has him worried. “I am keeping fingers crossed. We have to travel 35 hours by bus and that too with my two-year-old son,” Gonzalez told The Telegraph.
Gonzalez can get some tips for the journey from compatriots and East Bengal players Jaime Santos or Juan Mera. In early December, East Bengal had missed the train from New Delhi to Ludhiana after their flight from Calcutta got delayed. The players travelled 350km by bus to play Punjab FC in an I-League match.
While these 16 would be looking forward to meeting their near and dear ones, for Baba Diawara (Senegal), Daneil Cyrus (Trinidad and Tobago) and Komron Tursunov (Tajikistan), the wait continues. East Bengal’s Johnny Acosta (Costa Rica), and Kassim Aidara (Senegal) are also having a prolonged stay.