Pakistan players may have got their visas in time for their SAFF Championship opener against India on Wednesday, but more than half of their squad will reach their base in Bengaluru just hours before kickoff.
Pakistan are scheduled to take on India at 7.30pm in a highly anticipated clash between the two nations whose diplomatic relations have been severely strained.
The Pakistan team which was in Mauritius was to leave for India on June 18 after playing in a Four Nations tournament. But a delay in administrative processes – first the issuance of the No-Objection Certificate from the Pakistan Sports Board and then the visas from the Indian government – saw them miss their flight on Sunday.
Since leaving Mauritius, they have been on the road for the last 17 hours. The Pakistan team landed in Mumbai at 1 am on Wednesday. Since they could not find 32 tickets on a single flight, the team was split into two flights from Mumbai to Bengaluru. However, due to delays at the airport, the second group – which has 14 players – missed their flight.