The defender was in line to make his debut for the Blue Tigers.

FC Goa’s defender Seriton Fernandes has tested positive for COVID-19, Khel Now understands. The unfortunate turn of events also forced him to be excluded from India’s 28-man squad for the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers in Qatar.

Fernandes was tested twice over the past few days in New Delhi, where he was in quarantine similar to the other players. However, results of both of tests came back positive and as a result, he was excused from the travelling squad.

This is an unfortunate turn of events for the defender, as he could have been an integral member of Igor Stimac’s new-look Indian squad.

Khel Now has also learnt that Igor Stimac’s announcement of the 28-man squad for the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers followed the test results of the player. The squad has two players who share a similar position with Seriton Fernanades – Pritam Kotal and Rahul Bheke, none of whom have played in the right-back role in the previous season.

The AIFF also announced that the ‘travelling players and staff carry with them negative test results from the RT-PCR tests conducted in the last 48 hours,’ indicating the reason for the exclusion of Seriton Fernandes.

The exclusion of the 28-year-old will mean that the Blue Tigers are now without one of the best right-backs in the country, which could come back to haunt them. However, the travelling squad has a number of new faces and Igor Stimac might decide to put out a completely new defence.

One of the FC Goa regulars in recent years, Seriton Fernandes has made over 90 appearances for the Gaurs since 2017-18. He also played a key role under Sergio Lobera when FC Goa won the League Winners’ Shield. He continued his performance in the 2020-21 season as well, replicating it in the Gaurs’ AFC Champions League campaign.

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