The players are currently staying at their respective team hotels and hoping to return home soon.
Real Kashmir’s defender Loveday Enyinnaya is still looking for ways to get back to his hometown in Nigeria, as the travel ban imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic has dented his hopes of returning home.
On the other hand, coach David Robertson, defender Mason and a few members of the support staff will pack their bags and leave for home later this week. Robertson managed to get in touch with the British embassy who helped arrange for flights back home.
There is help on call for the Spanish players stuck across the country too.
“I’m talking with the Spanish embassy every day in order to return to Spain. I have learnt this morning that travel arrangements have been made for England and Scotland citizens. I hope they will arrange something for us soon,” said Nauzet Santana, Chennai City’s Spanish goalkeeper.
“They kindly refused for various reasons and said they would prefer to remain at their team hotel,” the Spanish embassy replied in an earlier e-mail to Chennai City FC.
Unlike the aforementioned nations, players from other countries have been offered little to no help. Former Snow Leopards’ captain, Loveday, has tried his best to get back home in these testing times, but has seen no silver-lining.
“I tried to contact my friend at the embassy, but he has not been taking calls. This looks like a difficult situation for all of us,” he said.
Loveday’s hometown in Nigeria hasn’t recorded a single case of COVID-19, but the defender has been forced to stay put in his team hotel in Srinagar, which is also the club’s headquarters ever since the nationwide lockdown had been announced.
“The situation is a little bit difficult for us here, coming from Africa. We have to wait and hope that the situation improves and see if there is any change of mind, anywhere,” he added.
Moreover, three other African nationals have joined Loveday at the hotel and have been forced to remain there at the moment. “For now, I am sure there is no solution. We just have to wait for the lockdown to be over. I will be happy if there is a solution to go back,” said Aaron Katebe, according to a report in The Times of India.
Real Kashmir’s Zambian defender spends most of his time either “telling stories” to his teammates, training at the gym or trying to get in touch with the embassy. He received a call from the embassy last week, although not surprisingly there didn’t appear to be any solution in sight.
In Aizawl, Alfred Jaryan is a popular figure. The Liberia international has spent five seasons at the club and is well-known and liked by the locals. He currently shares an apartment with Ugandan teammate Richard Kassaga and has some cooking to do.
“We struggled initially with nothing available, but then the local council provided us with food stuffs,” said Jaryan.
The player understands that such sacrifices are to be made as a professional. “We have to adapt and help each other,” he added.
The first few positive cases of coronavirus were detected down south in Kerala, home to Gokulam Kerala. The state has been doing its best to fight the pandemic and club officials are working to ensure the foreign players feel at home.
“I have a lot of time now to talk to my family,” joked Henry Kisekka, Gokulam’s Ugandan striker. Most of his day is spent either on the phone with his family or at the gym, located in the same building that houses the players.