By Derek Michael
At a time when Afghan coach Kargar blamed the referee for killing the game, it was double happiness for Indian coach Savio Medeira who won the SAFF Championship both as a player, in 1997, and now as a coach.
India defeated Afghanistan 4-0, at Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in New Delhi, to win a record 6th SAFF Championship.
Afghan coach Mohammad Kargar was totally displeased with the way referee Sukhbir Singh went about handling the game. The match saw Afghan goalie Hameedullah Yousufzari getting his marching orders after India were handed with a penalty.
"The referee had no experience to officiate in the final. His poor judgment cost us the game as it was not a penalty neither was it a red card for Hameedullah. It killed the game totally and the morale of my players went down after that," said Kargar.
Though his counter-part blamed the referee for their loss and is going to write a complaint to the AFC, Indian coach Savio Medeira wasn't ready to comment on the issue.
"I am not sure whether it was a penalty or not. I will see the tapes for that but I cannot blame the referee for that. The linesman had a better view and gave the penalty," said Medeira.
Indian coach Medeira didn't hide his displeasure over his side's show in the first half and was happy that his team improved their game in the second to win the final.
"We were playing long balls unnecessarily in the first half and the Afghan players used their physical presence to counter it. But my boys picked up their game in the second half and I couldn't have asked for anything better," said the ecstatic Indian coach.
The most fascinating factor for Medeira was the fact that the team triumphed without the benefit of refreshing their skills and energy throught practice sessions just before the tournament.
"We have conceded just 2 goals in 5 matches in this tournament. We didn't have any practice before this tournament and my players performed exceptionally well to win this. I am just sad that the players don't get any rest and have to play I-League matches from day after tomorrow," Medeira said.
With this tournament in his kitty, Medeira has achieved the feat of having won the competition both as a player and a coach.
"I am delighted at the fact that I won the tournament now again. It's my second one after having won as a player in 1997. I am really delighted," concluded an elated Medeira.