New Delhi, April 26: The Indian Under-14 girls football team, left stranded in Kathmandu following fresh tremors on Sunday, have returned home safely aboard a military aircraft.
"The U-14 Girl's Team has landed safely in New Delhi. Everyone stays safe," the All India Football Federation (AIFF) tweeted.
Fresh tremors on Sunday delayed the evacuation of the team from the earthquake-affected Nepal capital. An aircraft that was to bring the stranded team back was scheduled to leave Kathmandu's Tribhuvan Intertiol Airport at 12.30 p.m.
But fresh tremors -- following Saturday's devastating 7.9 temblor -- led to the flight being delayed, leaving the team -- comprising 18 players and five officials -- waiting at the airport.
AIFF president Praful Patel tweeted on Sunday that the players would be staying the night in Delhi and will proceed to their respective homes on Monday.
"I thank God for looking after us and for keeping us safe. The earthquake was a frightening experience for everybody including me and obviously the players," Rocky Maymol, team head coach, said shortly after landing.
"Even though the girls are a courageous lot, I was worried about them and wanted to return to the country as soon as possible. I thank everyone who prayed for us and wished us," she added.
Exterl Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had earlier tweeted that evacuating the girls was the government's priority.
The team was in Kathmandu to participate in the Asian Football Confederation's (AFC) Regiol Championship for the South and Central Zone. It was scheduled to face Iran in a third-fourth place playoff match at 1 p.m. at the Dashrath Stadium on Saturday. IANS