Aizawl defender Saighani returns to Guwahati

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Imphal, Feb 8 (IANS) Aizawl FC’s Afghanistan central defender Masih Saighani has returned to Guwahati when he was stuck at the Imphal airport on Wednesday after he arrived in the city without a Protected Area Permit (PAP) required by Afghan nationals to enter Manipur.

Saighani was part of the Aizawl squad which was travelling to Imphal for their I-League clash against Neroca FC on Saturday.

“I flew back today morning to Guwahati and I am still in Guwahati. I wait for my club, if they get the permit by tomorrow I will fly back to Imphal. If they don’t get it, I will fly back to Aizawl tomorrow,” Saighani told IANS over phone on Thursday.

The Aizawl officials were unaware of the rules which say foreign nationals from China, Pakistan, Afghanistan, or with origins in these countries have to get the PAP permit before entering the state.

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“We are awaiting the PAP certificate from the government. Let’s see,” Aizawl FC owner Robert Royte told IANS from Aizawl.

As there were no evening flights from Imphal, Saighani had to wait at the airport before local authorities allowed him to stay in Imphal for a night on Wednesday. The Afghan international left on Thursday morning.

“We did not know that the rules were in Manipur as well. These rules are applicable to Mizoram too. It was relaxed though and we did not know it still existed,” Royte added.

Aizawl officials sought help from hosts Neroca FC who contacted local authorities for a solution on Wednesday itself.

“We haven’t got any update yet,” Neroca owner Naoba Singh informed.

Defending champions Aizawl are currently sixth in the points table with 16 points from 12 games while Neroca are placed second having 27 points from 13 matches.

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