The governemen is yet to take a call on the match in the backdrop of the ongoing tensions between the two countries.
The Pulwama terror attack brought in some serious tensions between India and Pakistan, while some former cricketers have given their opinion on the matter as some were against playing Pakistan in the upcoming cricket World Cup.
Former India team captain and CAB president Sourav Ganguly and Harbhajan Singh were against and also asked BCCI to boycott Indian cricket team’s match against Pakistan at the ICC Cricket World Cup coming this June 16.
However, from cricket, the focus now shifts to football as the Blue Colts will be facing Pakistan in the AFC U-23 Championships Qualifiers on March 26 in Uzbekistan. The Blue Tigers are clubbed with hosts Uzbekistan, Pakistan and Tajikistan in group F.
According to reports the AIFF have played safe and sent the ball into the Central Government’s court claiming that they will follow whatever the government orders them to do.
Considering that the match is set to take place at a neutral venue in Uzbekistan, India should play that match, although the decision should be taken by the AIFF, opined former India skipper Bhaskar Ganguly, who led the country at the 1982 Asian Games.
“It is a decision that needs to be taken by the AIFF. As of now, the relation between the two countries is not conducive to any kind of relation. However, since the match will be played in a neutral venue, India should go ahead and play the match,” he told The Quint. “We should not mix sports with politics,” Ganguly added.
India’s talisman and captain Sunil Chhetri has kept himself away from these controversies and has refrained from commenting on the matter. His media manager informed IANS that he wouldn’t like to comment on the issue.
However, India’s veteran goalkeeper and Arjuna awardee Subrata Paul said that since the tensions between both the countries are at a war-like situation is on the cards, it depends on the football federation and whatever decision they take against playing Pakistan and whatever the government suggests should be done by the players representing the country.
“Whatever decision, the AIFF takes or Central government asks us to do, we will follow that,” Paul said.
However, opinions of the AIFF officials regarding the whole matter are still a mystery but with time there will be a need for a call from the federation and hopefully, they will take the right decision keeping the issues in mind.