BY AYUSH SRIVASTAVA Follow @ayush_sri on twitter
Yusef Mashriqi played an integral part, as Afghanistan got the better of India in the final of the 2013 SAFF Championship.
Speaking after winning the title, the midfielder paid homage to India’s playing style in the final, but pointed out that his side deserved the title for being more clinical. He told Goal, “India played very good football and were more organized than us. But they were unlucky. We were the ones who were hungrier to get the result and we were clinical in putting the ball away.”
The former Bhawanipore player did not want to talk about whether his side were now the superior outfit of South Asia, and instead focused on the positives. He stated, “India has won it quite a lot of time, kudos to them for that. But I would like to congratulate our country for winning the title. Hopefully it will bring peace and unity there, even if just a small percentage more.”
Mashriqi felt there was a long way to go, before India could be displaced as South Asia’s pre-eminent side. He opined, “No, from what I have seen, they have got a good league and spending good money in getting in good foreign coaches. Though they didn’t win, they played good football and shall stay dominant. Personally I feel until someone breaks their record, they shall be on the top.”
Speaking on what this win shall win for Afghanistan as a country, he mentioned, “Soccer spreads love and peace. We will go to hotel and celebrate then go to Afghanistan and celebrate with the government and people. I am sure Kabul must be going crazy right now.”
The midfielder felt that if the Lions of Khorasan were to keep moving forward in world football, it was important they don’t get complacent and stated, “Next for Afghanistan is small changes in personnel within Afghanistan football, to take it to the next level and make it easier for the players. And they have to decide what direction the federation takes.”
On the professional level, the player is currently unattached, but hopes to return to India again in the future, having played for Bhawanipore last season.
“I will go back to Afghanistan and enjoy the moment with all the people. Personally I shall see where I am headed next. Maybe I will come back to India, as I enjoyed it there and they have the same culture. I also enjoyed their football,” he concluded.
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