Picture Credit: Twitter

Picture Credit: Twitter

The 19th edition of the Asian Games is set to kick off in Hangzhou, China, on Tuesday, September 19. The men’s football events at the Asian Games starts on September 19 and will run until October 7, and the team has yet to reach the venue. 

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But ahead of the start of the quadrennial event, a picture of the Blue Tigers taking a nap at the Singapore Airport spa is now doing rounds. The squad had to sleep at the Singapore Airport spa, where they had an 11-hour layover, as there were no rooms available at the airport hotel. Notably, this is not the first time the team had to face difficulties in traveling, as the King’s Cup squad had not received return tickets from the federation, according to officials at ISL clubs, but Shaji Prabhakaran, AIFF General Secretary, later dismissed the reports. 

India will play their first game against China on September 19 at 5:00 p.m. IST at the Huanglong Sports Center Stadium, and the team won’t get even one training session before the game. The team departed Delhi at 10 p.m. on Sunday, September 17, and landed in Singapore early morning on Monday, September 18, after which the squad boarded the flight for China after an 11-hour layover. 

The team will reach Hangzhou around midnight, which gives them 18 hours before they play the all-important game against higher ranked China. Adding to the misery, India will be missing five players for the first match against China, as Aniket Jadhav, Narender Gahlot, Chinglensana Singh, Gurkirat Singh, and Lalchungnunga aren’t traveling with the team, and will reach China in batches later over the next few days.

Additionally, the management has also been facing a lot of heat regarding the squad selection, as there was a tussle between ISL clubs and Blue Tiger’s coach Igor Stimac regarding letting players go for the Asian Games outside the FIFA window, which was later resolved with Sunil Chettri and Sandesh Jhingan being added to the Asian Games squad.