BY AYUSH SRIVASTAVA Follow @ayush_sri on twitter
Afghanistan have got their desired opponent in the final of the 2013 SAFF Championship, as they face India, in a repeat of the 2011 final.
Assistant coach Ali Zawad Attari fielded questions in the build-up to the competition, and hoped that this time, unlike the final of the last edition and the last four clashes of the present tournament, the referee would not be in the news after the game. He mentioned, “I hope that the referee in the final is a good referee. He decides the game well both ways and goes with fair play.”
“This is the repeat of 2011 knockout stages. It is the same four team in semi-finals and same two teams in final. And you saw the referee last time changed the game, and this year we will show we are the best team.”
On being asked if they would have a better chance of taking the trophy back home, considering the game is in Nepal, when compared to last time, when they were up against India who were the hosts, Attari quipped, “We don’t care if it’s in India or Nepal, we shall play our natural game. We know we are a better team than India and we shall show it. We played against hosts, Nepal in front of 28000 supporters but we were not thinking of them. We were just playing our natural game.”
When questioned if he still thought Afghanistan were superior to India, after the Blue Tigers’ display in the semi-final, the assistant coach stated, “Yes, we know we are physically and technically better than India. But if the two teams have qualified for the final, then both are better physically and technically. I know our players are better.”
The last final was clearly still on his mind, and he concluded by saying, “Yes, we know that we wanted India in the final. We want revenge for the last time, when the referee changed the game.”
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