Hockey

Asian Cup | Team & I are devastated: Dennerby

Not pleased:  Dennerby was peeved that AFC did not find a solution as  Covid breach was not India’s fault.

Not pleased: Dennerby was peeved that AFC did not find a solution as Covid breach was not India’s fault.

A devastated Thomas Dennerby questioned the Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) organisation and handling of the COVID-19 outbreak within the Indian women’s team, which led to its ouster from the home AFC Women’s Asian Cup.

“My team and I are devastated. Our dreams are forever killed,” said the Indian national team coach. “[This was] Six months of sacrifice, dreams and passion. This is my worst experience as a head coach ever.”

A depleted India was forced to withdraw from its second group game against Chinese Taipei on Sunday before AFC confirmed the team’s removal from the tournament as per the guidelines.

The Swede suggested that the contingent may have contracted the virus from the team hotel, which was in regular touch with the team, in Navi Mumbai.

Explaining the sequence of events, Dennerby said, “On the 16th, we were tested at the hotel and we had the first case of positive result. On the 18th, we had pre-match testing, and had three new cases. Our physio and strength and conditioning coach tested positive, who were very close to the hotel staff to prepare for the gym.”

The 52-year-old said the AFC conducted RT-PCR tests showed seven hotel staff returned positive results on January 19 a day before India played its opening match against Iran.

Why the wait?

“What we didn’t know was the hotel staff were tested on 17th afternoon. After that, the AFC did not send the report to the hotel until the 19th. Why didn’t the AFC send the report immediately? Why wait a whole day? “Why weren’t the hotel staff not tested every three days as the team?” he added.

AFC responded via email to the Hindu , stating the body aims to ‘deliver a successful Championship in collaboration with the AIFF and the LOC by prioritising the safety, health and well-being of all the players, officials and stakeholders.’

It added, “The AFC has successfully conducted major tournaments across Asia in the face of serious challenges posed by the pandemic by implementing strict medical and health protocols that are in line with the host country’s medical regulations.”


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Printable version | May 23, 2022 1:47:03 am | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/hockey/asian-cup-team-i-are-devastated-dennerby/article38330971.ece