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Argentine coach arrives in Kolkata

sports Updated: Aug 29, 2011 12:21 IST
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Argentine football coach Alejandro Sabella and goalkeeper Estaban Andrada along with 15 officials arrived in Kolkata on Monday morning following a 39-hour journey for the team's friendly match against Venezuela on September 2.

Seventeen other Argentines -- sans showstopper Messi and his Barcelona teammate Javier Mascherano -- are scheduled to arrive on Tuesday morning in two batches.

The Barca duo are held back becuase of their club's La Liga match with Villareal on Monday. As of now, there is no official word on Messi and Mascherano so they are expected late on Tuesday or Wednesday night.

The Messi-led Argentina will play two International frinedlies in the sub-continent -- against Venezuela in Yuba Bharati Krirangan on September 2 and another versus Nigeria in Dhaka on September 6.

The Argentines got a rousing welcome at the airport as they headed straight from the airport to the team hotel near the Yuba Bharati Krirangan.

Coach Sabella, accompanied by his deputy Julian Camino, a former East Bengal player in 1988, are expected to visit the stadium this evening.

Five Argentine officials -- Pernas Oscar Alberto, Diego Iacovone, Marcelo Dandrea, Pablo Blanco and Mario Destefano --had arrived in the first batch of the squad on Sunday.

They visited the refurbished stadium in Saltlake and Pernas Oscar Alberto, who had come on a recce last week, was pleasantly surprised to see its new look.

The 120,000-capacity stadium, owned by the state government, will be handed over to the organisers on Monday afternoon.