The Indian football team’s friendly match against Lebanon, initially scheduled to be played on June 7, has now been cancelled. The match was supposed to be played in Mumbai but the All India Football Federation announced that Lebanese Football Association has ruled out their national team’s participation.
“The Lebanese Football Association has expressed their regret at not being able to travel to India to play the International Friendly against the Indian National Team on June 7, 2017,” said the AIFF in their statement, “Lebanon had earlier in March 2017 confirmed their willingness to play the match in Mumbai. The AIFF is currently looking for a replacement.”
The AIFF also said that the the Lebanese FA, in a letter to the federation’s general secretary Kushal Das expressed regret at not being able to send the team to India. “We regret to inform you that we will no longer be able to play the friendly match in subject, due to the fact this it is not possible to apply for Entry visas for the majority of National Team visas at the Indian Embassy in Beirut, as they are playing abroad with their respective clubs and it is not possible for them to come to Lebanon to apply for their Entry visas,” they said in the letter.
As per the rules procurement of visas on arrival for citizens of Lebanon is not granted. India coach Stephen Constantine also expressed disappointment on the development. The match was supposed to be a part of the preparations for India’s second AFC Asian Cup qualifier against Kyrgyzstan. “The decision of the Lebanon FA, that too at the 11th hour comes as a jolt for our preparations for the crucial AFC Asian Cup Qualifier against the Kyrgyz Republic,” said Coonstantine, “Even as we are trying to find a replacement team, I understand that’s it’s very difficult as all other Teams have already finalised their matches.”