India denied use of football match venue in Iran
India denied use of football match venue in Iran

Tehran, March 22 (IANS) The Indian football squad which will play Iran in a 2018 World Cup qualifier at the majestic Azadi Stadium here on Thursday has been denied the match venue for training purposes.

The Indian team will have two practice sessions here before the match. But national coach Stephen Constantine couldn’t hide his disappointment at “not being allowed to train” at the Azadi Stadium for two days.

“When Iran came over to Bengaluru, we allowed them to train at the match venue for two days expecting that you would receive the same treatment. When you extend courtesies you would always like to be repaid, no matter what,” he told www.the-aiff.com.

“But to our surprise we are being denied to train at the match venue for two days. It was understandable that we would also be training at the match venue for two days simply because we had allowed the Iranian national team to train at the venue for two days.”

Apart from that, it has so far been good for the Indian contingent post their arrival late on Monday night.

“We were received well at the airport and the transfer to the team hotel was smooth. My assistant coach (Lee Johnson) came here in advance and sorted everything out. The hotel is a decent one and we look forward to our sessions and the match,” said Constantine.

The Indian team landed at the Imam Khomeini International Airport in the Iranian capital on Monday. It is festive time here and despite the New Year celebrations keeping the spirits of the locals high, the skies have stayed gloomy. The mountain peaks which stare down at the city, are covered with snow.

“The temperatures here are much cooler than what we had in Delhi. We need to settle down fast,” Constantine said.

Meanwhile, goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu has also joined the squad.

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    The IANS was founded by Indian American publisher Gopal Raju as the India Abroad News Service. It was later renamed the Indo-Asian News Service.

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