SAFF Football: Pakistan team’s arrival delayed due to visa issue

Bengaluru: Pakistan football team’s arrival here for the SAFF Football Championship has been delayed due to a visa issue but the squad is expected to reach in time for its opening fixture against India on June 21.

Pakistan squad was expected to land in Bengaluru on Sunday after completing the Four Nation Cup in Mauritius. However, the team is still in Mauritius, having missed the scheduled flight to India this morning.

Pakistan is scheduled to face India on June 21 at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium at 7.30 PM IST, but a KSFA official said there was no concern regarding the neighbouring team’s arrival.

“The India MHA (Ministry of Home Affairs) is closed on the weekend and their application is with the Indian Embassy in Mauritius. We are in touch with the AIFF (All India Football Federation), who is in touch with Embassy as well as the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF).

“The word coming through that the visa applications of Pakistan players will be processed on Monday and they will be able to land in Bengaluru on Monday night or Tuesday morning well in time for the fixture,” a top KSFA official told PTI on condition of anonymity.

The PFF had accused the country’s Sports Board for delaying the NOC for the team to travel to India, while the Board retaliated by saying that the Federation did not submit the documents in time.

Pakistan will also face Kuwait (June 24) and Nepal (June 27) in their Group A matches during the SAFF tournament.

However, their preparation for the event was far from ideal as Pakistan lost all their three matches in the Four Nation Cup to finish last on the table. Djibouti emerged champions in the tournament held in Mauritius, winning all three of their engagements.