What really hurts a lot is that AFC is trying to blame us,” head coach Thomas Dennerby had said during his explosive press conference on Wednesday before holding the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) responsible for their “unprofessional way of handling” the bio-bubble, especially in the Mumbai hotel that hosted the Indian women’s team.
But without explaining their view on what went wrong leading to the embarrassing scenario at the premier women’s continental event, AFC has referred to its record of conducting tournaments during the pandemic to dismiss the suggestions of the India coach.
“AFC has successfully conducted major tournaments across Asia in the face of serious challenges posed by the pandemic by implementing strict medical and health protocols that are in line with the host country’s medical regulations,” the Asian body stated to an email query on the topic of contention.
In his chain of tweets just after the cancellation of India’s match against Chinese Taipei last Sunday, Praful Patel had said, “Let there be no fingers pointed at any.”
Posting that “no bubble is foolproof around the world”, the All India Football Federation president had put the onus of the hosts’ withdrawal from the AFC Women’s Asian Cup to “sheer bad luck”.
But the blame game began a few days later in an AIFF-organised press conference by Dennerby. In an emotional outburst, the otherwise reserved Swede had passed the buck of the 19 players and 6 staff members’ contraction of Covid to the mismanagement of the bubble by AFC.