India's friendly against Barbados cancelled

Colaco was upset that none from the Barbados Football Association were there at the Bridgetown Airport to receive the team on their arrival on Monday, sources in the All India Football Federation said.

The team members were earlier promised visas on arrival but they had to wait for a few hours before getting them. No help came from the tour sponsors +One and the team management had to arrange a hotel on its own.

Later, BFA officials apologised and took the team to the its designated hotel, but an upset Colaco was adamant on not playing the match, sources said.

The AIFF, however, maintained that the match was cancelled since the players were tired after a 23-hour long journey. Colaco felt that the change in travel schedule due to London riots left the players too tired to take the field.

“Due to some unfortunate logistical reasons caused by the sudden change in the travel schedule because of the problems in London, India’s first international friendly against Barbados in stands cancelled to avoid undue physical strain and hardship to the players after their long flight from London to Barbados,” the AIFF said in a statement.

“The national coach after consultation with the All India Football Federation general secretary, the national team director and the Barbados Football Association decided under the circumstances that the match may result in unnecessary injuries or health problems for the players,” the statement said.

“The AIFF is very conscious that players should not get injured prior to the beginning of the new domestic season and therefore in the best interest of the players and the clubs, found it prudent to cancel the match against Barbados.”

The next two matches — against Trinidad and Tobago (August 21) and Guyana (August 24) — will be played as per the schedule, the statement said.

In the lead-up to the Caribbean tour, the AIFF had a tough time in convincing the clubs to release their players for the tour.

Initially, the AIFF said the match would be against Barbados and later issued a release just before the team’s departure that India will play against St Kitts and Nevis. The London riots then led to the delay in the team’s departure by a day.

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