Panaji

The absence of two key players Syed Rahim Nabi and Mehtab Hussain from the Indian football team which leaves for the West Indies tour on Saturday raised eyebrows, but it was clarified that they will travel next week.


The Kolkata duo is understood to have some visa issues and will travel to the Caribbean only on Monday.

But the absence of Hussain ( East Bengal) and Nabi ( Mohun Bagan) was enough for Dempo players to make it clear that they were not travelling to the West Indies if players from other clubs stay back.

All nine players of Dempo got together and informed the All India Football Federation that they received instructions from their club management not to board the flight if all players, especially those from the Kolkata clubs, were not on board, sources said.

The Dempo players were given the green signal after the AIFF explained the reason why Hussain and Nabi would have to delay their departure by two days.

‘We got a call from the federation explaining why Mehtab and Nabi were not travelling with the team.

They have some issues with the transit visa ( to England) and would travel on Monday.

We have been assured that the manager would accompany them,’said Dempo manager Custodio Almeida.

The duo would miss the first friendly against St Kitts and Nevis on August 17, but would be available for the next two matches against the national teams of Guyana ( August 21) and Trinidad and Tobago ( August 24).

The team was to leave for London yesterday en- route to the West Indies but the departure had to be postponed due to security concerns in the riot- hit British capital.

Meanwhile, Dempo midfielder Climax Lawrence is almost certain to be named the captain for the tour as coach Armando Colaco has said he ‘wanted to have some continuity’. Mehtab Hussain Syed Rahim Nabi

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