After several pictures of Aizawl FC Under-15 team languishing near a train toilet going viral in the social media on Monday, Robert Romawia Royte, owner of the present I-League champion said the pictures were taken at the wrong place at the worst possible time.
Royte also asserted that his junior team travelled only in a three-tier AC train as per team entitlement.
The social media post that went viral across the football fraternity in the country stated that the Aizawl FC boys played a tournament in Kolkata, in fact the boys were playing Nike Premier Cup in Goa where they lost in the semi final to the eventual champion Punjab Minerva on a tie breaker.
“The boys were young and were home sick after a month long tournament, they were dying to go home, our tickets from Goa to Kolkata were confirmed but Kolkata to Guwahati wasn’t, the boys couldn’t wait and we went on to get our tickets to be confirmed in Kolkata. The photos that went viral were taken while I went to the railway office to get our tickets confirmed,” B Malsawmzuala, manager of the under 15 Aizawl FC team told Northeast Now.
“Before we could get the tickets confirmed the boys, after two nights on a train journey were just hanging around at the nearby empty places, some of them were near the toilets where the pictures were taken, as soon as we got our tickets confirmed, we boarded immediately to our boogies,” said B Malsawmzuala, former captain of Aizawl FC senior team, who now has taken up the managerial post with the junior team.
Aizawl FC officials said that home bound tickets couldn’t just be confirmed due to uncertainty. “We cannot ascertain when our tournament will end, we could have been thrown out in the first round; we could even be the champions, so it was impossible for us to confirm every ticket. And when we were out of the tournament after a month long league matches and knockout stages, the boys couldn’t wait to go home,” said the team manager.
Robert Romawia Royte, also known as RRR, Aizawl FC owner said it was an unfortunate social media post that led to misunderstanding.
“We have our own entitlement, the junior team travels in three-tier AC trains while the senior team travels by air. Every I-League team has their own protocols, the photos were taken at the wrong place, at the worst possible time. The club has done its part, the boys were travelling on an AC compartment,” RRR asserted.