The All India Football Federation (AIFF) is coordinating with the Ministry of Home Affairs to expedite the Visa process for the Pakistan national football team that is slated to take on host India in the opening match of the SAFF Championship in Bengaluru on June 21.
Pakistan is stranded in Mauritius after three friendlies earlier this month, against Kenya and Djibouti respectively.
“After receiving the NOC (No objection certificate from the government) the team applied for the visa on June 14. The Ministry of Home Affairs as well as that of External Affairs are in constant touch with the president of AIFF (All India Football Federation) to expedite the visa,” a top AIFF official told Sportstar on the condition of anonymity.
“If all goes to plan, the team will receive its visa day after tomorrow. The Federation is not ruling out the possibility of postponing the fixture to a later date but that would be the last resort. The chiefs of both federations had a detailed chat today and the priority remains a solution as early as possible,” he added.
Having finished its tournament in Mauritius, with a 1-3 loss to Djibouti, it had a flight scheduled today morning, one that it was forced to miss because of visa issues.
“Still no visas for the team. This means that we can’t board today’s flight which was scheduled to leave at 11:30am. This leaves us stranded in Mauritius with no flight to go back home as well,” Hassnain Haider, the media manager of the Pakistan team had tweeted in the morning today.
Recently, Vanuatu – playing in Asia for the first time – had to delay its itinerary because of visa issues
“Some of our players could not join us because of visa issues,” the team’s captain Brian Kaltak said.
Vanuatu, which played in the Intercontinental Cup in Bhubaneswar from June 8-15, had some of its players miss out on the tournament because of visa problems. Only 19 of the 23 players announced by Vanuatu flew to India on the night before its first game of the tournament – one it lost 1-3 to Lebanon.
Meanwhile, the national teams of Bangladesh and Nepal have landed in Bengaluru today and Kuwait is expected to reach tomorrow.
India comes into the tournament as the defending champion and – as per schedule – will face Pakistan, Nepal and Kuwait in its group stage matches on June 21, 24 and 27, respectively.
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