“This tournament is a dream for us, we have prepared for almost a year,” says Michelle from Tashkent.
Mansa echoes her sentiment and provides, “This is not just for us but for the future generation as well. We want to gift them something special.”
As the cloud of uncertainty hangs over 23 women on their staff, they’re much more decided for a superb present if given an opportunity.
In their group are Jordan and Iran. With the FIFA ban on India, Sree Gokulam FC’s matches have been cancelled within the schedule.
Their CEO, Dr B Ashok Kumar informed NDTV, “No deadline was communicated to us. Why should they give is a deadline of 48 hours when our first match against Iran is on 23rd? Ever since we landed here, they have been asking us when are you returning, but we are not here to return. We won’t return without the title”
On Friday, the Sports Ministry swung into motion. They spoke to FIFA on behalf of the membership. In a launch they mentioned, “It has requested FIFA and AFC to consider allowing the team to play in the AFC Women’s Club Championship (West region) in the interest of the young players”.
For now this leg of the match has been rescheduled with solely Iran and Jordan.
Dr Kumar says, “We have not been communicated about matches being rescheduled. On 16th we were told that we are out of the tournament, can’t play till the ban is lifted. From 16th till 22nd, there is almost a week. In case the ban is lifted, we can play. Hence we decided to stay.”
The match is being staged in Qarshi and the Indian staff was anticipated to have gotten tickets to journey there. But they weren’t given tickets on the outset and the membership authorities are upset with the behaviour of the organisers.
“As per the regulations they should give us the ticket till Qarshi. From beginning there was negativity from AFC and organisers. We were assured that we will be given ticket to Qarshi but not given. It is budgeted by AFC, what then is the problem?”
The match begins Saturday, the twentieth. India’s solely hope of a turnaround hinges on the ministry’s good relations with FIFA.
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