Pakistani Coach Blames ‘Visa, Flights’ After 4-0 Loss To India
The Pakistan football team began the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship with a 0–4 loss to archrival India. India’s captain Sunil Chhetri scored a hat-trick and Udanta Singh scored a single goal.
While there is no doubt that India overpowered Pakistan for the entire 90 minutes, the visitors attribute a portion of their loss to their late arrival.
Coach Torben Witajewski of Pakistan believes the team’s visa and ticketing issues had a significant impact on their performance against India.
Due to the unavailability of tickets on a single aircraft, more than half of the Pakistan football team arrived just six hours before its SAFF Championship opener against hosts India.
He said, “Without a doubt, we were unable to change the circumstances; the visa is the issue. Thus, we encountered numerous issues in Mauritius.
So it was not simple, but we cannot alter our decision. However, the performance would differ if we had more time.
When traveling during the night, players cannot rest. We arrived today at 1:50 p.m., which is not ideal preparation for a game. We cannot have high hopes for the men.”
Wednesday at 1:00 a.m., when the Pakistan team landed in Mumbai from Mauritius, a strange chain of events began.
The Pakistan squad of 32 members, including players and coaching staff, was compelled to split into two groups due to a lack of available seats on a single aircraft.
The first group boarded a 4 a.m. flight to Bengaluru, while the second group took a 9:15 a.m. departure due to immigration clearance issues at the Mumbai airport.
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The second group arrived at their team hotel near Kanteerava Stadium just after 1 p.m., scarcely six hours before kickoff.
This was also India and Pakistan’s first football match since September 2018. In the semi-finals of the SAFF tournament, India had defeated the opponents 3-1 on that day too.