Dubai: They may not be exactly a Pep Guardiola or Luis Enrique, but Kibu Vicuna and Mario Rivera Campesino enjoy their share of stardom back in Kolkata in India - often known as the football capital in India. The two Spanish coaches, in charge of local football giants Mohun Bagan and East Bengal, are stuck in the city alongwith nine footballers from their country with the lockdown in place in India and no international flights available at at least till April 15.
Both coaches stay in the same complex in Rajarhat in the eastern part of the city alongwith the footballers, who represent the two arch rivals - but at the moment they have bigger worries back home as Spain had been one of the worst-hit countries from the coronavirus pandemic.
With no sporting action in the world and the I-League, the national pro league of India coming to a grinding halt, the two coaches alongwith the footballers are now looking for an early exit for home. They have a job at hand as the I-League is still not officially finished, but it’s unlikely that the remaining matches will be played under the current scenario.
My wife and mother are right now in Granada while my brother’s family and other close relatives are all residents of Madrid
‘‘My family has a number of senior citizens, some of them being over 70 years of age and I am really worried about them. Don’t take this disease lightly. Stay at home, maintain social isolation and wash your hands from time to time,’’ Vicuna said in a video message for a local TV channel. Vicuna, a Uefa licensee 47-year-old, was the cynosure of the Mohun Bagan supporters as late as on March 10 when the team was assured of the country’s national league title with four matches to spare.
Campesino, younger to Vicuna and a resident of Madrid, said in a video message: ‘‘My wife and mother are right now in Granada while my brother’s family and other close relatives are all residents of Madrid. They are fortunately safe and the spread of the infection seems to be a bit under control now. Stay safe, everybody.’’
Indian football has, in recent years, seen an influx of Spanish talent - with Antonio Lopez Habas currently being the coach of Atletico Kolkata - reigning champions of the newly introduced Indian Super League.