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    Messi match: Argentina give thumbs-up to venue

    Kolkata: Putting all the doubts to rest, a three-member team, led by Argentine assistant coach Julian Camino, on Friday gave the go-ahead to the Yuba Bharati Krirangan, which will host his country's international friendly against Venezuela here on September 2.

    The match assumes great significance for Argentina as they have named a full strength side, which will also see wunderkind Lionel Messi don the captain's armband for the first time in his international career.

    "Me and my team visited the stadium in the morning and also saw the hotel. We saw the practice venue (Mohun Bagan ground) yesterday and we are happy with the arrangements here," Camino said.

    "We want to win here so we are coming with the best possible team including Messi, who will debut as the captain in the match. We want to see a packed stadium and a memorable match here," the former defender who donned Argentina jersey in early 80's and also represented East Bengal in 1988, added.

    Camino, who along with Pernas Oscar Alberto and Martin Rodrigo arrived here yesterday morning to inspect the practice and the match venue, further said that Messi was also looking forward to the match.

    "Messi is being loved everywhere. He knows well that he will be loved here too. He is really willing to come here," he said.

    Earlier on the day, Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella announced a 26-member squad with notable omission of Carlos Tevez, though his Manchester City teammate Sergio Aguero found a place along with Angel Di Maria, Gonzalo Higuain (both Real Madrid), Javier Mascherano (Barcelona), Martin Demichelis (Mallaga) and Jonas Gutierrez (Newcastle United).

    Camino, however, refused to comment on Tevez's exclusion. "I am not the right person to answer this question. I can't reply this here. I can just say this match assumes a lot of importance to us."

    The Argentine assistant coach, however sounded concerned about the artificial turf of the Yuba Bharati Krirangan.

    "We are not accustomed to play on this sort of surfaces.

    But we hope to play as we are used to playing," Camino said.

    The delegation spent more than half an hour at the stadium as they inspected the turf and the dressing rooms.

    With exactly two weeks left for the match, the Yuba Bharati Krirangan, however, is running against time to get itself ready for the big day.

    Camino hinted that the team would practice in Yuba Bharati Krirangan itself, ruling out Mohun Bagan ground that was earlier earmarked as the practice venue.

    On their practice venue, Camino said, "The practice venue it seems will be the one where they will play the match."

    Asked whether they were unhappy with the facilities at Mohun Bagan ground, which they inspected yesterday, Camino refused to comment and said: "I will write in my report to the technical director. It's them who will decide (whether Mohun Bagan will be a practice venue or not)."

    Both the teams are expected to arrive here on August 28.