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ISL 2018-19: ATK in Spain - Visa issues force five players to stay behind

18:00 GMT+4 22/08/2018
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The Kolkata-based franchise start their preparations for the upcoming season without five of its domestic players...

As teams start their preparation for the fifth edition of the Indian Super League (ISL), ATK have encountered a minor hiccup.

Earlier on Wednesday, the two-time champions reached La Roda, Castilla-La Mancha in Spain for a three and a half week camp. However, five domestic players were left behind in Kolkata.

Winger Jayesh Rane and the trio of new signings, Ricky Lallawmawma, H. Lalmuankima and Ankit Mukherjee along with Cavin Lobo, who re-joined the side this year have all failed to procure their Schengen visa on time, Goal has learnt.

The delay in visa is not only limited to players but a couple of the support staff also failed to board the flight to Spain. "There has been a delay in the visa but we are hopeful that we will get it in the coming few days and then will link up with the squad in Spain soon," said a source close to the development, on the condition of anonymity.

Head coach Steve Coppell joins the team directly from the UK and new foreign signings Manuel Lanzarote and Kalu Uche were already present hours before the Indian contingent reached the team hotel in the Albacete province of Spain.

As it stands, ATK will begin their preseason with only 13 Indian players out of the 19 in their squad. Playmaker Hitesh Sharma will also be absent as he is on national duty, representing the Indian U23 team preparing for the 2018 SAFF Championship.

The Sourav Ganguly co-owned side are yet to announce their preseason fixtures before they return from Spain on 16 September. The 2018-19 ISL begins on 29 September.