The drama regarding the issuance of visa to Colombo FC foreign recruits ended in the best possible manner for the visitors as all three foreigners were granted visa by the Indian High Commission.
Mohun Bagan seemed to have got an easy passage into the AFC Cup main rounds when their qualifier opponents Colombo FC were denied visa for all the three foreigners. The rules of Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka meant Africans, specially Nigerians, could not get into India through applying for visa from Sri Lanka according to the owner of the club.
The news sent the moods of football fans across both countries drooping down but Colombo FC got a reprieve when their Ivorian midfielder Momas Yapo was approved to travel to Kolkata in order to play the return leg. Colombo FC are trailing 1-2 after losing their home leg to the Mariners and were desperately in need of full-strength side to challenge the mighty Mariners.
Even before the Sri Lankan supporters could relish the moment, they got more good news as both the Nigerian recruits Nasiru Opeyemi and Afeez Olayemi Olofin also have been granted visas late on the eve of the match. Both the players along with club owner Saif Yusoof have already headed to Kolkata and would be reaching by 11 am, that is just eight hours ahead of the kickoff at Rabindra Sarobar Stadium.
While speaking to premier Lankan sports website thePapare.com, Colombo FC owner expressed his excitement on the proceedings. “They just gave me everyone’s visas! We will be leaving only tomorrow (the day of the match) and will land only a few hours before the match”, he was quoted saying.
The news will come as a heavy relief for coach Mohamed Roomy but he is no mood to hurry the inclusion of the players into the first team. “I will have to test their (three foreigners) fitness before the match given that they will be arriving only a few hours before the match”, said Roomy to the Sri Lankan website after the news of granting of visas.
With good news flowing in one after another after, captain Mohamed Rawme Mohideen has already passed his fitness test and is set to regain back his place at the centre of the midfield. Things going positive for Yellow Submarines after visa denials, an upset victory over Green and Maroon will be an icing on the cake of what is going to be a memorable journey for Sri Lankan’s for years to come.
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