AFC Was Not Professional In Maintaining Bubble, Our Dream Has Been Destroyed: India Coach Dennerby

Thomas Dennerby, the coach of the Indian women's football squad, said on Wednesday that his squad is unhappy with the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and that his team's ambitions have been shattered in some way.

On Monday, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) announced that Covid-affected India had withdrawn from the AFC Women's Asian Cup and that their outstanding Group A games had been called off. In the squad selection list and starting lineup for Sunday's encounter between India and Chinese Taipei, India failed to enrol a minimum of 13 footballers, plus one goalkeeper.

Dennerby expressed his pride in his staff and players throughout a remote media briefing on Wednesday. Nothing might have been done better by AIFF, and no one from the federation might have altered the scenario. He expressed his dissatisfaction with the AFC tournament's organisation as well as the absence of solution-oriented discourse. They believe their dream was shattered in some way, but they do not place blame on the entire AFC organisation.

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He went on to say that they had properly adhered to the AFC protocols. The girls were confined to their rooms at all times. The room was the location of all team meetings. They were examined for COVID-19 again on the 16th of January, and at that time, the initial case in their unit was discovered, implying that the first incidence of COVID occurred when they were released from quarantine. How was this possible? The first impression was weird, and it might have come from someone inside the bubble.

The coach went on to say that they were examined again on the 18th of January, with three additional positive results discovered in their camp. Coincidence or not, the positive instances were near to the hotel workers. What they didn't realise was that the hotel personnel was examined on the 17th of January, the results were forwarded to the AFC on the 18th of January, and the AFC didn't deliver the report to the resort till about 1:30 PM on the 19th of January. When the results were revealed, seven hotel employees had been infected with COVID.

He went on to say that when the crew was inside, they were dusting their rooms, so why didn't AFC submit the reports right away? Why should you have to wait an entire day? Did they realise what they were doing was wrong, because no action was taken? AFC must have contacted the hotel personally and ordered them to vacate the premises immediately. That was a huge blunder, and the way the AFC bubble was handled was unethical, and no justifications will suffice.

In response to an ANI question on whether there is anything AFC might do otherwise hereafter, the coach stated that everyone, including AFC, should learn something from this circumstance. He went on to say that they don't want to point fingers at anyone in specific and that all they wanted to do was get the whole storey out to put an end to the rumours. He simply wanted everybody to know that they adhered to all of the rules.