‘We arrived at half past one on match day’: Pakistan coach rues visa issues after India hammering at SAFF Championship
The coach admitted that the performance would have been significantly better had the team arrived in Bengaluru much before like other participating countries.
India started the SAFF Championship 2023 on a dominating note, dishing out arch rivals Pakistan 4-0 on a rainy Wednesday night at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru. Eight players in Pakistan's starting XI come with an experience of playing in European leagues, mostly Danish and English leagues, and their skipper Easah Suliman has represented England at several youth competition.
The experience, however, didn't trouble India at all throughout the 90 minutes. But one thing, which many felt, even echoed by Pakistan assistant coach Torben Witajewski at the post-match press conference was the team's logistics concerning travel.
As reported earlier by us the Pakistan team members were expected to land in Bengaluru on Tuesday, a night before the fixture. A few members from the Pakistan contingent did arrive in the city on Tuesday itself, but a bulk, almost half reached Bengaluru six and a half hours before the scheduled start of the match, which was 7:30.
While Witajewski confirmed the same during the post-match press conference, he also elaborated the issues faced by the team in Mauritius, where they were playing Four Nations Cup, and then in Mumbai at the immigration office and how it hindered their preparations.
“The problem about the travel was we received the visa very late and a lot of problems in Mumbai at the airport with the immigration. So it was tough for the guys. The last group arrived at half past one in the hotel today (Wednesday). After 16 hours, right. So this is not easy, it's very tough but you have to cope with the situation. You cannot change it,” said the coach.
While Pakistan were certainly at a disadvantage if we look at the situation from a neutral perspective, the coach didn't blame anyone for the fiasco. was difficult, especially in a high-voltage, also ruling out that rescheduling could have been one of the possibility.
"We cannot change the situation so I suppose the federation did everything but it is like this. It was clear we have to cope with the situation like we played. It was difficult.”
He, however, admitted that the performance would have been significantly better had the team arrived in Bengaluru much before like other participating countries.
"For sure, we couldn't change the situation, the problem is the visa. So we had a lot of problems in Mauritius. So it was not easy, but we cannot change. But if we had more time the performance would be different.
He also mentioned player fatigue as a key reason behind his team's performance, adding: "if you travel through the night, the players cannot sleep. We arrived today at half past one, it's not good preparation for a match. We cannot expect a lot from the guys.”