It was rugby, not soccer: Myanmar coach

After India made it to the final of the AFC Challenge Cup, Marcos Falopa blamed 'unplayable ground conditions' for his team's 0-1 loss.

updated: August 14, 2008 16:22 IST
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Myanmar coach Marcos Falopa blamed the unplayable ground conditions for his team's 0-1 loss to India in the AFC Challenge Cup semifinal here and said both sides played a rugby game instead of a football match.

"It was a rugby game not football match. The match was decided by factors not to do with football skills of players. My boys played better football but lost due to the poor ground conditions," a disappointed Falopa said at the post-match conference.

The ground at the Gachibowli Stadium was heavy from the beginning with the top surface crumbling on the weight of players but still playable. But, after a heavy downpour during the breather, the pitch turned into a muddy field with pools of water in the middle.

Falopa said he wanted to postpone the match after the first half and play another day on a better surface but had to continue as the organisers were having a difficult time regarding a good playing surface here.

"I wanted to postpone the match and more importantly to play on a better surface. But I did not do it, because the AFC and organiers have difficulties in finding a good ground here," he said.

"Football should not be played on such surfaces. It will not do any good to anybody," he added.

The Brazillian, who has travelled widely in Africa, West Asia and the Carribbeans as technical director of top clubs and national teams, said India will have to improve a lot if they have to compete with the best teams of the continent in the Asian Cup.

"I congratulate India for reaching the final but they have to improve a lot if they qualify for the Asian Cup (if they win the final on Sunday). They won two matches under similar conditions (against Turkmenistan and Myanmar) in this tournament. They will struggle against top Asian teams if they play like this," he said.