The Lebanese Football Association on Tuesday expressed their regret as they backed out of sending their national team to play India in an International Friendly in Mumbai on June 7, the All India Football Federation informed.

In March, Lebanon had confirmed their willingness to visit India for the tie at the Mumbai football arena. The AIFF stated that it was currently looking for a replacement.

Expressing his disappointment, National Coach Stephen Constantine said: “The decision of the Lebanon FA, that too at the 11th hour comes as a jolt for our preparations for the crucial AFC Asian Cup Qualifier against the Kyrgyz Republic. Even as we are trying to find a replacement team, I understand that’s it’s very difficult as all other Teams have already finalised their matches.”

In an official letter to AIFF general secretary Kushal Das, Jihad Al Chohof, General Secretary, Lebanese FA wrote: “We regret to inform you that we will no longer be able to play the friendly match in subject, due to the fact this it is not possible to apply for Entry visas for the majority of National Team visas at the Indian Embassy in Beirut, as they are playing abroad with their respective clubs and it is not possible for them to come to Lebanon to apply for their Entry visas.”

As per rules under Government of India, procurement of visas on arrival for citizens of Lebanon is not granted.

The national team has been delivering positive performances in the past couple of months, that has seen them win 11 games from their last 13 encounters.

Recently, the team broke into the top 100 in the world rankings for the first time in 21 years.