The All India Football Federation (AIFF)- the highest governing body of football in India- refused Quess East Bengal FC to hold a one-minute silence in honour of Kamalpreet Singh's father's death before their away encounter against Indian Arrows at the Cooperage Stadium in Mumbai.
"Before the match, we requested AIFF to hold a one-minute silence as one of our player's father passed away. However, AIFF didn't allow us to do so. And, this player (Kamalpreet Singh) played for India U-19 before. This was not expected from them," said Quess East Bengal FC's head coach Mario Rivera at the post-match press conference.
Regarding the match, Quess East Bengal FC won the contest 3-1 comfortably with Jaime Santos Colado, Asheer Akhtar, and Lalrindika Ralte chipping in the goals. Vikram Pratap Singh was the lone goalscorer for Indian Arrows.
The Red and Gold's head coach Mario Rivera was also unhappy with the refereeing in the game. The Spaniard opined that the referees in I-League conspire to help the losing side.
"In this country, the referee has a massive influence in the game. They always take decisions in such a manner that favours the losing side. I observed that last season and the same thing is happening in this season. This will stop the development of Indian Football. Maybe when we had the lead, we could have fallen on the ground and take the time out. But, that is not how I like my team to play and that is not how East Bengal plays."
India's national team head coach Igor Stimac was also in attendance for the I-League match and observed the match from close quarters. East Bengal captain, Lalrindika Ralte, scored a goal and bagged the 'Hero of The Match' for his high work rate in the midfield.
When asked if he could break into the senior national team after being overlooked for the last five years, the former ATK, NorthEast United FC, and Mumbai City FC midfielder replied that the Indian Arrows boys are the future of the country and they should be selected rather.
"I don't think so. One match doesn't change everything. The young players in Indian Arrows are very good. They are hard-working and talented. I think they should go to the national team."Published 18 Feb 2020, 04:00 IST