Change Of Date Keeps Roy Krishna On Track

Star striker’s management denies media report of a signed lucrative deal.
11 May 2021 11:12
Change Of Date Keeps Roy Krishna On Track
Roy Krishna still has a chance to become the first Fijian to play in the AFC Cup. Photo: India Newslink

Fiji’s wonderboy and ATK Mohun Bahan captain, Roy Krishna’s hope of becoming the first Fijian footballer to play in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup is still alive.

This came when the Asian Football Confederation confirmed that the AFC Asian Cup (South) Group D matches, which were scheduled to take place on May 14-21, in the Maldives are now being rescheduled.

Krishna was to leave the country today and fly directly to the Maldives to be in time for the May 14 opener, but this has been shelved due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“All flights on Fiji Airways have been put on hold to May 18. It would be difficult for me to go because of the unavailability of flights and I would need a special exemption from the Ministry of Health, if I was to leave” Krishna told SUNsports yesterday.

An online sporting and news platform in India, InsideSport, reported that Krishna has agreed to stay with ATK Mohun Bagan for another season and participate in the AFC Asian Cup.

In its report, InsideSport saidthat the club has finalised the deal to retain Krishna for a whooping 5.5 Cr (FJ$1.5 million) a season. This was an increase, the report claimed,since the Fijian international was drawing Rs 3 crore (FJ$830,000) last season.

However, when contacted this was strongly denied by Krishna’s management team, indicating that they were still looking for better options.

Krishna, the 2019 A-League Player of the Year said, he has been training for over a month and will wait for the new dates of the competition.

He said this is most likely to be staged next month or in July at another venue.

“It would have been historic for Fiji and for me to play in the AFC for the first time.

“The cancellation is a blessing in disguise as I still have a chance to join the team and play in another venue in the future,” Krishna said.

“Hopefully our border restrictions will ease by then.

“I do understand and appreciate the efforts of the authorities to keep us safe and secure. It is better to be safe than sorry.”

The Hindu reported that Maldives Sports Minister Ahmed Mahloof had alleged that Bengaluru FC had “breached” COVID-19 protocols and asked the AFC to cancel the play-off games and also postpone the group stage matches.

Two ATK Mohun Bagan reps Prabir Das and SK Sahil have tested positive for COVID-19, goalkeeper Arindam Bhattacharya’s mother also tested positive along with a few officials who as a result were not part of the travelling team to Maldives.

Under the AFC protocols, competing players will have to have COVID-19 negative reports two days before departure from their home base.

AFC will announce the new dates and venue for the Group matches in the coming week.

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua


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