Indian Football

FC Goa abandon the AFC Champions League and leave for home amid COVID-19 crisis

Mudeet Arora
FC Goa's foreign players and coach have left India amid lock down fears
FC Goa's foreign players and coach have left India amid lock down fears / Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

As COVID-19 cases continue to surge in India at devastating pace, Indian Super League club FC Goa's coach Juan Ferrando and foreign players have left for home on Wednesday.

This comes at a time when the club is in the middle of their high-profile AFC Champions League campaign. However, the decision was made amid fears that any more delay could mean the foreign contingent will be locked down in India.

The overseas players including Edu Bedia, Jorge Ortiz and Ivan Gonzalez, along with coaches Ferrando and Javi Gonzalez have left for Spain.

Australian defender James Donachie also departed on his flight to Madrid via Paris on Wednesday.

Goa have one match left to play in the AFC Champions League against Al Wahda on Thursday.

A club official spoke to the Times of India regarding the situation stating, "If they don’t make it to Spain tonight, they may get stuck here for another month. Spain will impose mandatory quarantine for everyone traveling from India. There could be a travel ban too, besides we don't know about restrictions or a lockdown here. It made sense for them to leave immediately."

The official added, "We cannot fault the players (for leaving early). They gave everything to this club and were professional in every sense."

The above means that an all-Indian squad will face Al Wahda on Thursday, The Emirati side are second in the group.

In their debut AFC Champions League campaign, the Gaurs have managed three points from their first five games.

Juan Ferrando's side started with draws against Al Rayyan (Qatar) and Al Wahda (UAE) before facing two back-to-back losses against Iranian league champions Persepolis FC. They then almost came up with a historic win over Al Rayyan on April 26, before a last minute equaliser broke their hearts.