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Puerto Rico face jet lag, humidity as India eye better ranking in friendly

football Updated: Sep 02, 2016 18:15 IST
Sean Sequeira
Sean Sequeira
Hindustan Times
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File photo of the Indian football team training. India take on Puerto Rico in a friendly in Mumbai on Saturday. (PTI)

The Puerto Rico football team, which is set to play India on Saturday in Mumbai will face a challenge in acclimatising to the conditions.

Due to a delay in their scheduled arrival, they will barely have 24 hours to adjust to the Indian conditions. The members of the Puerto Rico team and staff missed their connecting flight from New York City and are scheduled to reach Mumbai by 5pm IST on Friday.

The Indian national football team is scheduled to play the Puerto Ricans at 8 pm on Saturday at the Andheri Sports Complex in Mumbai.

As a result of their delay, the visitors are unlikely to conduct any training sessions on Indian soil.

The visiting team will have to battle humid conditions in Mumbai, which they are unlikely to have encountered back home.

They will also land in Mumbai after a long journey from their country — a flight from Puerto Rico’s capital San Juan to New York takes four hours on average. The flight from New York to Mumbai will take a minimum of 15 hours, which means the players will also have to contend with fatigue and jet lag.

HT was also informed that their head coach Carlos Garcia Cantarero will not be present at the pre-match press conference on Friday and that the customary managers meeting with match officials (which usually takes place a day before the match) has been rescheduled to Saturday morning on account of the change in schedule.

The Puerto Ricans will arrive in Mumbai after two losses in friendly encounters against the Dominican Republic. The first was a 5-0 away loss on August 28 followed by a 1-0 home defeat on August 30. Contests between the two island countries holds the status of a local rivalry which the Puerto Rican Football Federation described as a Caribbean Classic.

At 114 in the Fifa standings, Puerto Rico are ranked much higher than the Indian team (152).

Post the friendly with India, they will be competing in the third round of the 2017 Caribbean Cup qualification. They are scheduled to play away to Antigua and Barbuda on October 8, and at home to Curacao on October 11 in the hope of qualifying for the tournament for the first time; also presenting an opportunity to qualify for the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

For India, the friendly presents an opportunity to play a higher-ranked team in the hope of collecting points for a better standing in the Fifa rankings.