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At the post match conference Sri Lankan assistant coach and trainer Sumith Walpola thanked the sponsors and the AIFF for inviting them to the 2009 Nehru Cup but also revealed that he didn’t know that India had qualified for the final...

The Sri Lankan management have repeatedly said that they are taking part in this tournament to prepare for the 2009 SAFF Games.  

After going down 1-4 to Kyrgyzstan they finished at last place which has disappointed Walpola and the rest of the team. But he said that they would take the positives from this tournament.  

He said, “Firstly I would like to thank the sponsors and the AIFF for inviting us in this tournament. We didn’t have much time to prepare for this tournament but these four matches have really helped us to get international exposure.  

“We are obviously disappointed to finish last after starting with a win but out target is to do well in December’s SAFF Games, so we will take the positives from this competition and prepare well for that.  

“There will be slight changes in the team also as Kasun Jayasuriya will be back but here it was good that young players got to play some matches.”  

Walpola also gave his thoughts on the game itself and compared their midfielder M.Asmeer with India’s Climax Lawrence.  

“After losing two games on the trot against Syria and India our morale was a bit down and the players didn’t put in a good performance today that is why we lost.  

“Our midfielders had a good tournament but didn’t have a good game today. But you cannot drop players like Maduranga and Asmeer. They are very experienced players, Asmeer is like Climax of India but every player can’t play well in every match.”  

He also reacted to Bob Houghton’s comments on how Sri Lanka and Maldives gave India a tough schedule in last year’s SAFF Cup.  

“I must confirm that our co-hosts Maldives made the fixtures and decided the timings of India’s matches as both of them were in the same group. So we are not responsible for that.”  

Earlier today Goal.com reported about the confusion regarding India’s qualification to the final on a better head to head against Sri Lanka.  

When Goal.com’s Amoy Ghoshal explained the rule of the tournament and asked Walpola if he knew about it, he said he wasn’t aware.  

“I honestly didn’t know about this,” he concluded. 


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