Bangladesh coach Lodewijk de Kruif has blamed the referee for his team failing to notch up victory in the SAFF Football Championships match against India in Kathmandu on Tuesday.
The portal goal.com quoted Kruif as claiming that Indian captain Sunil Chhetri hit Mamun Islam to earn the free-kick from which the equaliser was scored by India during the injury time.
He told the portal, “Mamun was injured, and then he was unlucky. He told me it was no foul (in the build-up to India’s goal). In fact Sunil hit him, but the referee was a bit on their side, everyone could see it. But Mamun, we have to be proud of, as he played with two injections in the knee and he has a big heart.”
The match ended in 1-1 draw.
Kruif has reason to be frustrated as his team despite dominating the match has to settle for just one point after Sunil Chhetri equalized from a free-kick.
Even the Bangladesh journalists covering the tourney did not suppress their resentment against the referee’s “poor decision.” Most of them gave vent to their anger by not attending the post-match press conference of the Indian coach Wim Koevermans.
Sri Lankan HCD Perera was the referee in the match while Jordanian Adham Makhadmeh was the fourth official.
Both of them came under fire from de Kruif. The goal.com quoted him as saying, “I can tell you that the Sri Lankan official and fourth official, who was our referee against Nepal, they have destroyed the game for us.”
“The man (fourth official) maybe had a bad night or quarrel with his wife, but the guy was crazy from the first moment. He was complaining to the bench, there was always something with regards to cards, shoes, even maybe our hair. I need to ask him why I was sent off. I want to ask him but when I see him I might want to do something else now,” he continued.
When quizzed if there should be changes in the AFC structure, he reportedly said, “I am not a specialist in referring but I can say media, players, coaches all have some kind of rules. In the last AFC Challenge Cup, we have 6 points and we were thinking we shall go to Maldives.
But then two weeks later they cancel it due to a stupid rule, which nobody can think of it. Maybe referee had bad day and match referee had a double bad day. I don’t think there is anything wrong with the structure.”
Speaking of how he motivated his boys after the game against Nepal and whether the calmer surroundings of Halchowk stadium suited them more than the big and noisy atmosphere of the Dashrath Rangshala stadium, de Kruif opined, “I don’t know, I might have to ask the players. I have to say if we can play before 25 to 30 thousand people, then it’s a fantastic podium. But maybe for young guys it’s easier to play here. But the boys were very motivated as it was India versus Bangladesh, and we talked for two to three days about it, and there was no possibility we would lose it.”
Comparing the improvement in performance against India with what they had come up against Nepal, the Dutchman mentioned, “Well I think that if you were to compare the game today with against Nepal, we had fighting spirit and good organization, against a team which also was organized. My boys did fantastically well, they fought until the last second and all the hard work resulted in a good goal for us.”
“We study the corners and set-pieces, and it was seen in the goal. We had taken over the game 20 minutes leading to the goal, but trouble with young guys is that they have no experience. They have power and will, but with a little bit of cleverness, they could have scored one or two more. I think they showed everyone that the game against Nepal was a sole incident,” he told the goal.com
Revealing the heartbreak the result had caused to the players, de Kruif told the portal, “They are feeling terrible. I would say go to dressing room and see, everyone is crying.”