Dempo, EB turn down Houghton's request

Houghton had wanted East Bengal’s Nandy and Dempo’s Abranches as replacements of injured goalkeeper Arindam Bhattacharya and Anthony Pereira who has already returned to Goa after suffering an Anterior Cruciate Ligament injury (ACL) while training in Dubai.

Dempo asked how Abranches can join the national camp as he has not even recovered from his injury while East Bengal, table toppers in the I-League after five rounds, said they do not want to break momentum by losing Nandy at this juncture.

“We got the letter from the AIFF (to release Abranches) today but Joaqium is not even fit to play in the I-League for the club. How can he be fit for the national camp? We are not releasing him,” Dempo manager Tony Almeida said from Goa.

“We are replying to the AIFF letter on Monday but we are not releasing Abranches,” Almeida said.

A top East Bengal official also said that there was no question of releasing Nandy for the camp in Dubai.

“East Bengal is doing very well in the I-League and Nandy is doing a good job.  “We can’t release Nandy at this juncture. We can’t lose that momentum. We have replied to the All India Football Federation that we are not releasing him,” an East Bengal official said from Kolkata.

The national team, training in Dubai since early November for the January 7 to 29 Asian Cup in Doha, have been hit hard by injuries with seven to eight players in the casualty list.

Skipper Bhaichung Bhutia, who has been battling various injuries through out the year, is yet to recover fully from his hamstring injury though his strike partner Sunil Chhetri has started training after an ankle injury.

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