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Visa hurdle for Dilshod

East Bengal’s Mahmoud Al Amna during a practice session at the Salt Lake Stadium practice ground. A Telegraph picture

Calcutta: East Bengal’s plans of recruiting Dilshod Sharofetdinov received a major setback on Friday when it was revealed that the Uzbekistan midfielder may not be able to come to India due to visa issues.

It was only on Thursday that the club had said that Dilshod was on their radar as an replacement for Armand Bazie, who was released recently. Within 24 hours, the scenario has changed and the matter has taken a wrong turn.

According to sources, Dilshod has said that one doesn’t get a visa easily in Uzbekistan and that despite trying hard, he sees no light at the end of the tunnel.

The player himself thinks that his chances of joining East Bengal are not bright.

There was no official confirmation from the club though, but it looks very unlikely that Dilshod will be able to play for East Bengal in the ongoing I-League.

If East Bengal fail to get Dilshod’s services, they will now have to start their search afresh for Bazie’s replacement.

Khalid Jamil’s side currently lie third in the I-League standings, behind Minerva Punjab and Neroca FC. They are six points behind leaders Minerva and cannot afford a slip-up as that will push them further away from title aspirations.

Interestingly, their next match is an away one against Minerva, on Tuesday. It will be a crucial match for the city giants, something that Arnab Mondal agreed.

“The Minerva match is a do-or-die affair for us. We have to win it, there’s simply no other choice,” said Arnab.

Arnab spoke on the sidelines of the launch of BYA Heroes of Tomorrow Soccer Academy, an initiative of Abhijit Mondal, himself a former East Bengal goalkeeper.

Arnab said that as a team, they are prepared to fight till the last. “We know that we have a tough road ahead. We are ready to fight and we know that it may go the distance. From our side, we will surely give our 100 per cent,” the defender said.

He, however, added that the players will have to take more responsibility. “The players will have to take more responsibility. We will have to react to the situation… We have to bounce back, we don’t have much time and so we must defeat Minerva.

“We have faith in ourselves and if we can execute our plans, we will definitely deliver,” Arnab said.

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