Six-time professional league champions Abahani expressed their frustration after the club’s Nigerian striker Sunday Chizoba failed to obtain Indian visa ahead of their AFC Cup match against Chennaiyin FC which will be held in Ahmedabad on April 30.
“It is frustrating that we can’t go to India with a full-strength side while the home side will play with full strength including four foreign players,” said Abahani manager Satyajit Das Rupu. “Indian High Commission told us that Sunday has to take Indian visa from Nigeria after refusing to accept his passport a week ago.”
“According to the bylaws of the tournament, respective national football association will ensure visas of visiting sides and the AFC instructed All Indian Football Federation [AIFF] to take necessary steps in this regard. However, today (Wednesday) the AIFF expressed its inability to arrange visa for Sunday,” the former national footballer said. “Sunday travelled to India twice with Abahani during the last edition of the AFC Cup last year and he also played in the I-league previously. How is it possible for a player to go to his home country which is far from Bangladesh and collect visa giving up on training in a short span of time? Considering everything, we will request the Indian High Commission to arrange for Sunday’s visa.”
Sunday is one of Abahani’s key strikers who scored one of the two goals in a 2-2 draw against another Indian outfit Minerva Punjab in Dhaka earlier this month. Abahani and Chennaiyin FC have four points each in the four-team group even though the Indian side lead the table due to a superior goal-difference. The match is crucial for the Sky Blues in their bid to staying in the qualifying race for the second round.
Abahani are scheduled to fly to India on April 27.