SAFF Championship: Pakistan Arrive In Batches Due To Unavailability Of Tickets

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The Pakistan football team’s anticipation for the SAFF Championship opener against host India, as more than half of the team arrived here just six hours before Wednesday’s game, as one flight ticket was not available. I wasn’t prepared like I was.

The bizarre chain of events began after the Pakistani team arrived in Mumbai from Mauritius at 1am on Wednesday.

Unable to find seats on one plane, the 32-man Pakistan national team, including players and coaching staff, had to split into two groups. The first group boarded the 4am flight to Bangalore, while the second group boarded the 9:15am flight due to immigration issues at Mumbai airport.

The second group arrived at the team hotel near the Cantilava stadium just after 1pm, less than six hours before kick-off. However, the PTI expects the match to go ahead as scheduled at 7:30pm (IST) despite the Pakistani players’ late arrival.

“Yes! The game is proceeding as scheduled and there are no plans to reschedule at this time,” a source familiar with the development told PTI. The local organizer, the Karnataka Football Association, has taken extensive safety measures for the visiting Pakistani team.

“Pakistan teams have top-notch security and have been briefed by senior city police officers. It is, and will be, and will also be assigned a security expert to accompany it,” KSFA Director M. Satinarayan told PTI.
Pakistan will face India on June 21, Kuwait on June 24 and Nepal on June 27 in the SAFF Championship.
This is also the first India-Pakistan football match since September 2018. On that day, India had beaten their neighbor 3-1 in the semi-finals of the SAFF tournament. Pakistan’s preparations for the tournament were marked by uncertainty due to delays in visa procedures.

Finally, on Monday night, the Indian High Commission in Mauritius approved all outstanding applications, paving the way for the Pakistani team to head smoothly to the tournament in India.
The Pakistani team had traveled to Mauritius to participate in the four-nation tournament, which was won by Djibouti.

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