THE 2ND DIVISION LEAGUE MATCH between FC Pune City (reserves) and Real Kashmir FC is had to be delayed after a major logistical mishap.
Scheduled to kick off at 4:25 pm in Pune, the match is unlikely to start on time as the Real Kashmir FC squad is yet to reach the venue at the time of writing this article, which is at 3:30 pm.
This delay is due to the pick-up bus provided by FC Pune City for the visiting team turned up late by more than an hour.
Speaking to TFG, the Real Kashmir FC owner Shameem Mehraj said,
"Our reporting time at the ground was at 2:45 pm. We were ready by 1 o'clock. We waited at our hotel but the bus did not turn up until 2:46 pm. We are on our way now but the journey will take an hour."
Mr Mehraj also spoke about the discomfort caused to players due to the ISL franchise providing them with a non-AC bus, causing the Real Kashmir FC players to struggle in the unfamiliar Maharashtra heat,
"They have been providing us with a Non-AC bus for the last two days but we didn't complain... when they visited for their away fixtures we even took them sightseeing."
The Real Kashmir FC owner was palpably upset with this disturbance ahead of the match, as the club's fate of topping the group and progressing to the final round hangs on this match.
At this point, Real Kashmir FC is at the top of the Group A (19 points from 9 matches). They are being chased closely by Hindustan FC who are on the same points and have the same goal difference. So it's pivotal for Real Kashmir to win this match, and a delay like this may lay their entire season's effort to waste. Mr Mehraj said,
"Nowhere to my knowledge has something like this happened... we're on our way now, let's see what happens."
FC Pune City (Reserves) are about to finish third in the table of Group A. When they visited Srinagar for their away match against Real Kashmir on 21st March, it ended in a goalless draw.
UPDATE - The Real Kashmir FC team finally reached the match venue at 3:35 pm, almost an hour late. The kick-off time was moved to 4:30 pm to allow the visiting team some warm up time. Still their preparation time at the ground, originally about 90 minutes, was cut short to less than an hour. Despite all this, Real Kashmir FC beat FC Pune City (Reserves) 1-0 and qualified for the final round of the 2nd Division League.