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"I'm going home with a bad feeling" - Afghanistan coach questions refereeing


BY        ZULHILMI ZAINAL       Follow on Twitter

Following his charges' 2-1 defeat to hosts Malaysia in their Airmarine Cup third-place decider match on Saturday, Afghanistan boss Anoush Dastgir made known of his displeasure.

"As I've said before, I'm happy with the invitation by the Malaysian FA [to play in the tournament]. But I'm not happy about the game today. Okay, it's a friendly match, and we were playing against Malaysia, I can understand.

"But it gives a bad feeling when you see this kind of penalty (foul) and you cannot get the penalty [call]. I also watched the game against Singapore (Malaysia's semi-final encounter against Singapore)... I don't want to say a lot about it, but I'm not happy about the referees.

"I'm not saying we lost today because of the referee, but this gives me a bad feeling. Even in this kind of (invitational) tournaments we have to play fair. I'm going home with a really bad feeling," said the 29-year old trainer in the post-match press conference.

Dastgir was referring to an incident in the 60th minute of the encounter, when his forward Jabar Shayza went down in the Malaysia penalty box, ostensibly after he was shoved from the back by centre back Shahrul Saad. However, Thai referee Chaireag Ngamsam adjudged the incident as simulation on the attacker's part, and booked him for it.

However, highlights of the match showed that any contact made by the defender was minimal, suggesting that the official has made the right call. 

The trainer nevertheless that the two matches his side has played in the tournament has provided more experience in terms of playing in Asia, weather-wise, as most of his players are based or grew up in Europe.

"What we have learnt is that the players and the coaching staff that we will have games in this weather a lot, because we'll not be playing in Europe, but in Asia [in the upcoming World Cup/Asian Cup qualifiers].

"We have to improve more," said Dastgir, who grew up in the Netherlands himself.

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