Visa issue forces Lebanon to cancel India friendly

Lebanon will not travel to India to play an international friendly against the senior national team scheduled for June 7. As per the rules of the Indian government, citizens of Lebanon are not granted visa on arrival.

For the first time in 21 years, and only the sixth time after Independence, India broke into the top-100 of the FIFA rankings.   -  Special Arrangement

Lebanon will not travel to India to play an international friendly against the senior national team scheduled for June 7. As per the rules of the Indian government, citizens of Lebanon are not granted visa on arrival.

Lebanon had confirmed in March its willingness to play the fixture in Mumbai. The AIFF is currently looking for a replacement.

Expressing his disappointment, coach Stephen Constantine said: “The decision of the Lebanon FA, that too at the 11 hour, comes as a jolt for our preparations for the crucial AFC Asian Cup Qualifier against the Kyrgyz Republic. Even as we are trying to find a replacement team, I understand that’s it’s very difficult as all other teams have already finalised their matches.”

In an official letter to the AIFF, Jihad Al Chohof, General Secretary, Lebanese FA, wrote: “We regret to inform you that we will no longer be able to play the friendly match in subject, due to the fact this it is not possible to apply for Entry visas for the majority of National Team visas at the Indian Embassy in Beirut, as they are playing abroad with their respective clubs and it is not possible for them to come to Lebanon to apply for their Entry visas.”

The last couple of years have been extremely encouraging for Indian Football, with Constantine's men notching up 11 victories in 13 matches (including an unofficial match against Bhutan) scoring a total of 31 goals.

For the first time in 21 years, and only the sixth time after Independence, India broke into the top-100 of the FIFA rankings.

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