Unhappy with the shabby treatment meted out to its players, including late arrival of visas of three key players for the AFC Cup away semifinals against Kuwait SC, East Bengal has made a formal complaint to Asian Football Confederation against the Kuwaiti side, saying that it has impacted its preparations for the crucial match.
Captain Mehtab Hossain, defender Arnab Mondal and Gurwinder Singh had to leave for Kuwait late last night, one day after their team-mates had reached Kuwait due to non-arrival of visas from the Kuwait SC authorities.
The first leg of the semifinal will be played on Tuesday in Kuwait City.
East Bengal secretary Kalyan Majumdar told PTI that one player -- Robert Lalthlamuana -- was also made to wait for more than two hours as his visa-on-arrival was not in order at the Kuwait City Airport.
"Even the players were not given enough water at their team hotel in Kuwait City. This is unacceptable," Majumdar said from Kolkata.
"How can a coach chalk out strategy without the captain and another key defender (Mondal)? They (the three players) will be able to join team practice for just one day before the match. They (Kuwait SC) wanted our team unity to be affected so that they can take advantage of," he said.
"We have already made a formal complaint to the AFC that what Kuwait SC had done was not acceptable and we have suffered due to all these," he added.
Majumdar accused the Kuwaiti side of "playing games" to unsettle the Red-and-Gold outfit.
"This is all part of the game on the part of Kuwait SC. They are playing games so that these things may impact on our preparations," he added.
East Bengal is chasing history as it seeks to become the first Indian club to make it to the final of AFC Cup. It has already become the second Indian club to qualify for the semifinals after Dempo SC.
The second leg of the semifinals will be played in Kolkata on October 22.