New Delhi: Indian football captain Sunil Chhetri on Monday left for Singapore after getting his visa to travel to the country for an AFC Cup match on April 10. Chhetri, who had earlier been denied visa by the Singapore Consulate in Mumbai, received his visa this afternoon and left for Singapore by an evening flight.
Churchill Brothers Chairman Churchill Alemao has also been granted visa by the Consulate and he will leave tomorrow to be with his Goan side for their AFC Cup Group 'D' match against Singapore Warriors. It has been learnt that the All India Football Federation (AIFF) and Churchill Brothers approached the Sports Authority of India (SAI) to intervene and take up the matter with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
SAI promptly took up the matter with the MEA and wrote a letter to Sukhgeet Kaur, Deputy Secretary, South Project, MEA. After receiving the request from the SAI, Kaur got in touch with the Singapore High Commission in New Delhi and within few hours, sent back e-visa applications of Chhetri and Alemao to SAI.
Chhetri's team-mate Balal Arezou from Afghanistan has also left for Singapore after getting his visa. Arezou got his visa application approved after submitting some more relevant documents sought by the Consulate. Afghan nationals need to get special clearance which takes around four weeks.
"The presence of Chhetri and Alemao will be a big morale-booster for the team. The players are very happy after hearing the news since they will be having Alemao by their side," a team official said.
On Friday, the club had got a letter from Singapore Consulate that Chhetri, Arezou and Alemao will not be granted visas to travel to Singapore. Churchill are now lying in the third place in Group E with four points from three matches. They have lost one match, drawn one and lost one in the home-and-away group league competition so far. They had beaten the Singapore side 3-0 in their home match on April 2.