The Afghanistan camp has been very vocal about taking revenge of their SAFF 2011 final loss against India and assistant coach Ali Jawad Attayee reiterated that feeling ahead of Wednesday’s final and also claimed that his side are far superior than Wim Koevermans’ team.
“We wanted to face India because we want to take revenge of that loss two years ago where the referee spoiled the game. Even now people back in Afghanistan are hurt because of that defeat and we want to make it up this time. The revenge is only on a sporting context though and nothing more. I feel we are physically and technically better than India so we are ready to face them,” said Attayee through captain Zohib Islam Amiri who doubled up as the translator in the pre-final press conference.
Despite calling his own team better, Attayee contradicting himself by not admitting that his side are the favourites and stated that despite their difficulties in the group stage, India deserve to be in the final.
“We are not the favourites and are not feeling any additional pressure but yes we want to go one better than 2011 this time. Any team that is in the final deserves to be there. India are a good side and like us they struggled a bit in the group stage but performed very well in the semi-finals,” Attayee commented.
Amiri, who plays in the I-League for Mumbai FC and won the 2013 FPAI (Football Players’ Association of India) Fans’ Player of the Year accolade, knows a lot about Indian football and believes the additional rest before the final could make Sunil Chhetri even more dangerous.
“I have played against him (Sunil) of course and I feel bad that a captain couldn’t play an important match like the semi. He is a very dangerous player and the extra days’ rest could help him more but we are going to have a plan not just for him but the entire India team. We don’t want to focus on individuals because the most important thing is that we are playing for our national team and must defend its pride,” Amiri said.