Mumbai: India women’s football team head coach Thomas Dennerby on Wednesday claimed that two AFC staffers could have been infected with COVID-19 and rued that the organisation does not seem interested in sharing information.
India were on Sunday forced out of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup after a dozen COVID-19 cases among their players led to the cancellation of a group match against Chinese Taipei, minutes before kickoff in Navi Mumbai.
Apart from the COVID cases, two players were also laid low by injuries which made it impossible for the hosts to field a team, given that two of their footballers were already out of contention after being infected by the virus a few days ago.
“And honestly, now later on, we heard from others, other sources that also two AFC staff were infected, but we don’t know exactly, but there is a chance that we don’t have the right information from AFC,” the experienced Swede said at a virtual press conference here.
“But from my side the biggest problem is that AFC were not at all interested to have a discussion,” he further claimed.
Dennerby squarely blamed the AFC for the country’s ouster from the ongoing Asian Cup, alleging that the bio-bubble set up by the continental body wasn’t foolproof as the home team players got affected due to COVID-19 positive hotel staff.
“We were all negative of COVID when we reached the hotel and after the arrival tests. The first positive case came on the day we went out of hotel for training and the day later, seven hotel staff tested positive. It is not rocket science to know how the outbreak came,” he told PTI after the conference.
“Moreover, seven hotel staff tested positive on January 17 tests and they informed about it one day later. What was AFC doing for whole one day, we don’t know. The hotel staff was not tested every three days just like the teams. The staff were being tested after six days, we don’t know the reason,” an angry Dennerby alleged.
He maintained that AFC kept asking them to refer to a certain article of the special rules, which led to the team’s ouster.
“The only answers we get when we are trying to have a dialogue along with them (AFC) is we are following all the protocol, read article 4.1 of special rules, no AFC staff at the hotel are infected, but how do we know if it true or not,” added Dennbery in the press conference.
The head coach also revealed that as of now, there were 19 players and six support staff, who have tested positive for COVID19.
This means that as of now they will return home and only four players are not infected with the virus.
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