GUWAHATI, Dec 27 � Assam Football Association (AFA) is in neck deep trouble for hosting the FIFA allotted international friendly match between India (FIFA ranking 166) and Palestine (FIFA ranking 152) scheduled to be held at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, Sarusajai here on February 6.
The match has been allotted to AFA by All India Football Federation (AIFF). Earlier the international friendly between India and Yemen was cancelled in November last due to some technical reason. But the host is facing an acute situation as the ground condition of the Sarusajai stadium is in a deplorable condition after two major events held there.
The ASEAN car rally function and prior to that a State Government function made a severe damage to the ground. At present the ground is in such a position that not an international but a State level match is also not possible on this ground.
The AFA officials called on Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi to apprise about the present condition of the ground. As per the AFA source, the Chief Minister has instructed the Sports Directorate to take necessary action. But all the top officials of the Sports Directorate are away and as a result the preparation work of the ground is yet to be started.
AFA secretary Ankur Dutta said, they have hardly 40 days left for the match and during these days ground staff has to work round the clock to give a shape to the pitch and other infrastructure.
A team of AIFF will visit the venue in the first week of January and if they find the ground not suitable for the match it may be shifted to other place. Dutta said Guwahati is a probable venue for the 2016 U-17 World Cup and if the India-Palestine match is not considered for Guwahati then Assam may lose the U-17 World Cup match also.
The football fraternity of the State believes that holding of such international match may help in developing the standard of the game in this area. As the date of the match is fixed by FIFA all the top players of both the countries have to take part in the February 6 match.