Kolkata, Sep 29 (IANS) Giving a jolt to East Bengal's hopes for the away leg of the AFC Cup semi final outing against title holders Kuwait SC, three of their key footballers had to return from the airport here owing to visa problems.
Skipper Mehtab Hossain, Arnab Mondal and Gurwinder Singh could not accompany the Kuwait-bound squad for the Oct 1 game as their visa papers did not arrive in time for the flight to Dubai. Four club officials also were held back for the same reason.
An angry club secretary Kalyan Majumdar sent protest letters to the Asian Football Confederation and the All India Football Federation, seeking probe into the happening, which he termed as a "conspiracy" to rattle the team.
The players and officials are now hoping for their visa approval to arrive Sunday in time for the 8.30 p.m. Emirates Airlines flight.
"Even if we catch Sunday's flight, we will will reach Kuwait on September 30, a day before the game," said Mehtab.
East Bengal became only the second Indian club to reach the AFC Cup semis with a 2-1 aggregate win over Indonesia's Semen Padang.