The Mohun Bagan coach expressed his surprise over the drinks break in the second half against Pailan Arrows...Mohun Bagan coach Karim Bencherifa minced no words in voicing his displeasure over the conditions in which an I-League match is played after his team laboured to a 3-2 win over Pailan Arrows at the Kalyani Stadium, Kolkata.
It must be noted that East Bengal coach Trevor Morgan too had expressed his concerns over the state of affairs as the scheduling has been way too bad with regards to the health of the players.
“This is hell. It’s not a game of football. I think everybody is talking about it. If you look at our first thirty minutes, we were dominating the game. Credit should also go to the Pailan Arrows. But when we were at the same level of energy, we were the dominant team. In the second half, we started to collapse because of this weather. This kind of weather affects senior players more than the young energetic players," blurted the Moroccan coach.
There were drinks breaks after every 20 minutes in the second half - something which is unheard of in the game of football.
“This is the first time I have seen something like this in a football match, when referees were requesting for breaks to have energy drinks. This shows that the task is very difficult. I was only standing in the technical area and I am exhausted. Think about my players then," he said.
He also raised the concern that the kind of matches which are played at snail's pace under the hot weather conditions will result in the waning number of fans.
“Even the fans who are watching on the TV will not watch the next game. They will say what kind of a game is this. They will say this is not fast, has no creativity and no action. You know, when you are chasing a ball, you need energy. But when the game is played in a walking pace, it becomes difficult.”
Bencherifa stated that Aibor Khongjee was carrying a fever and requested for a change and therefore Mohun Bagan shifted to a more defensive 4-4-2 than their starting line-up of 4-3-3 after going 3-0 up.
“We started 4-3-3 but I noticed that in the last few minutes of the first half, it was getting difficult for Jewel Raja, Denson Devadas and Quinton Jacobs in the middle of the pitch. So, we decided to sacrifice a striker and go with an attacking midfielder. So Syed Nabi became a right back from a striker. I also put Quinton in a slightly free role and it helped us. If we would have stuck to our opening plans, we would get hammered.”
He was also happy about the performance of Tolgay Ozbey. The Australian striker scored a brace after having endured a poor season where injuries and poor form have hampered his campaign.
“It will help him (Ozbey) regain his confidence. I am happy with the way he played," the coach signed off.
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