East Bengal’s players and staff alike breathed a huge sigh of relief after it was revealed that the three players, Mehtab Hussain, Arnab Mondal and Gurwinder Singh, who were denied a visa to fly to Kuwait initially, had finally received the green light after due organization of documents. They were accompanied by four East Bengal officials, who faced similar predicaments.
The trio weren’t allowed to board the flight due to issues related to their visa. This ensued in a lacklustre trainings session for East Bengal in Kuwait on Sunday, with coach Marcos Falopa unable to finalize certain defensive strategies due to the absence of Mondal.
East Bengal are in Kuwait to play their first leg of the Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) Cup on October 1st.
What’s more needling is the lack of assistance or amenities provided to the player in the visiting camp by the hosts. Refusing to reveal his identity, a senior player on the East Bengal roster elucidated to The Telegraph, “There’s no drinking water... The hosts had promised sufficient supply of drinking water but that didn’t happen. The hotel authorities have only provided two bottles of water for each member. This is ridiculous.”
He added, “We are in for trouble... With no Arnab and Mehtab, we could not practice the way the coach would have liked us to.”
Another example of the unprofessionalism shown by Kuwait SC officials was when the East Bengal team landed in Kuwait City in the early hours of Sunday. When the team had to pass through immigration and receive due clearances, it was realized that the respectable officials had forgotten the Visa-on-arrival papers of Robert Lalthlamuana.
“The players had to go to the hotel and get the document. Robert was made to wait at the immigration counter for two-and-half hours,” complained Alvito D’Cunha, whose mood reflected that of the rest of the camp as well.
The Red and Gold officials were also reportedly seething on hearing the treatment meted out to their personnel. They reportedly complained to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and tried to postpone the match, but that request came to no avail as it was struck down immediately.