KARACHI: Indian football team coach Igor Stimac, after being sent off during the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship for snatching the ball from Pakistan’s player, has said he will do it again to protect his team from “unjustified decisions”.
During a match between Pakistan and India, Stimac snatched the ball from Abdullah Iqbal as he was preparing for a throw-in during the 44th minute of the first half, which led to a heated exchange between the players of both teams.
The Croatian Stimac was shown a red card for this offence and yellow cards were also shown to Sandesh Jhingan and Pakistan’s Rahis Nabi for their role in the fracas.
Pakistan’s Easah Suliman, who has also served the U-19 England football team as their captain, quickly jumped to the scene and exchanged words with the referee and the Indian coach.
“Football is all about passion, especially when you defend the colours of your country,” Stimac tweeted.
“You can hate or love me for my actions yesterday, but I am a warrior and I will do it again when needed to protect our boys on the pitch against unjustified decisions,” he added.
Earlier, India comfortably defeated Pakistan by four goals as the hosts did not face a single shot on target. India opened their account when captain Sunil Chhetri took full advantage of an error by the Pakistani goalkeeper Saqib Hanif in the 10th minute.
India doubled their lead without any trouble just five minutes after scoring their first goal as Chhetri converted from the penalty spot.
Chhetri completed his hat-trick in the 74th minute with another penalty after he was taken down in the box by Mohammad Sufyan.
India’s Udanta scored another one for the hosts in the 81st minute with a very calm and composed finish after beating the offside trap.
It must be noted that the Pakistan football team played this match against India without getting a 24-hour rest due to visa issues and flight delays.