The duo returned positive after all the ATK Mohun Bagan team members underwent coronavirus tests at a private hospital in Kolkata on May 7.
Ahead of their departure to The Maldives for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup, two players from ATK Mohun Bagan have tested positive for the coronavirus. Prabir Das and SK Sahil’s reports came back positive as the squad members underwent COVID-19 tests at a hospital in Kolkata before departing for their opening group stage tie in the AFC Cup. As per the protocols of Asia’s highest footballing body, the players will need to present negative COVID-19 reports two days before departing from their home.
Bagan have already secured automatic qualification to the AFC Cup as they finished second in the 2020 Indian Super League (ISL) season. Their first opponents, however, will have to qualify via a playoff match. The match will be played between Maldives’ side Eagles FC and another ISL side, Bengaluru FC. Bagan will play out of Group D in the initial stages of the competition.
They were scheduled to face either Bengaluru FC or Eagles FC in their opening fixture on May 14. However, the match might be postponed as Maldives Sports Minister Ahmed Maloof had alleged earlier that Bengaluru FC had broken COVID protocols and as a result, has asked AFC to cancel the playoff fixture and also postpone all other group games for the time being.
AFC officials are yet to take a decision on the matter as the nature of the protocol breach is still unclear. Bengaluru FC, however, have already reached the Maldives.
Reportedly, goalkeeper Arindam Bhattacharya will travel with the squad, the date of which is yet to be decided, despite his mother recently testing positive for COVID-19. Striker Roy Krishna will also join up with the squad in The Maldives as he will travel directly from his home country, Fiji.
This will be the eighth time Mohun Bagan have qualified for an Asian competition and the first time under the banner of ATK Mohun Bagan. Their most notable performance in the AFC Cup in recent history came in the 2015-16 season, as they qualified till the round of 16 stages of the competition.
They were, however, knocked out of the AFC Champions League in the group stage, having been sent to the AFC Cup in the 2015-16 season. It is a format that reflects UEFA Champions League clubs finishing third in their respective groups in the opening stages of the tournament, being sent directly to the knockout stages of the UEFA Europa League.