In a recent development, the reason for footballer Anirudh Thapa's absence on the pitch in their football match against Qatar has now been revealed. It has been confirmed that Thapa tested positive for COVID-19 and is currently under quarantine in a separate room in the team hotel in Doha. It is further being learned that Thapa tested positive on Wednesday, a day before India lost 0-1 to Asian champions Qatar in their joint World Cup and Asian Cup qualifiers fixture. The 23-year-old Chennaiyin FC player has played over 20 matches for India and will be tested again after a few days.
Notably, while India are already out of contention for a FIFA World Cup berth, they are pretty much in the race for the 2023 Asian Cup. With just three points from six matches, the Blue Tigers, who chase their elusive win in the qualifiers, are at fourth spot in the Group E standings.
Thapa is in isolation, confirms AIFF General Secretary
"Yes, Anirudh Thapa tested positive (for COVID-19) and he is isolated (from other team members)," All India Football Federation (AIFF) General Secretary Kushal Das was quoted as saying in a PTI report on Saturday.
Meanwhile, head coach Igor Stimac's men still have two matches to get some points and make an impact in the qualifiers. While they play Bangladesh on June 7, they will be up against Afghanistan on June 15.