New Delhi: India`s football coach Savio Medeira was delighted that he has achieved a rare distinction of having won the SAFF Championship both as a player and a coach.
Under Medeira`s guidance, defending champions India defeated Afghanistan 4-0 in the title clash to win the tournament for the sixth time.
Medeira won the tournament as a player way back in 1997.
"I am very happy to have won the tournament both as a player and a coach," Medeira said.
While Afghanistan coach Yousef Kargar was frustrated with referee Sukhbir Singh`s decisions and termed them "unfair", Medeira thought otherwise.
"I do not think the referee was partial. He also spoke to the linesman who had a better view of the incident. Maybe it was hard for Afghanistan as they were playing well and they started well. Had their goalkeeper kept his cool instead of hitting the referee, things could have been different."
The referee sent off goalkeeper Hamidullah Yousufzari for pushing him after he awarded a penalty to India.
India struggled in the first half and were not allowed to settle with the Afghan forwards giving their defence a hard time.
"In the first half, we did not play well. They did now allow us to play. When we started lobbying the ball, their physique helped them. At half time, we went to the drawing board again and then we began keeping the ball."
Medeira praised his boys for their spirited show in the tournament.
"In the five games we played, we have conceded two goals. We must not put too much blame on the defence. Let us also remember that the defence is always the last line. I think they were very good. They were doing a great job."
Medeira was also of the opinion that the SAFF Championship should be used as an opportunity for India to get their U-23 squad a run-in, and lauded his boys for playing five matches in less than 10 days.
"I feel sorry for this team as they shall go and play in the I-League after two days. Our strikers came in the tournament just a day before the match and without having practiced with the team, they played."
"The character and discipline they showed, hats off to them. The onus is on us as to how we get the best out of the reserve boys."
Asked about his stint as Bob Houghton`s assistant, he said:"Every coach has his own thinking. There are many things I learnt from Bob. However I do my own things. Most importantly, they understand what I`m saying. If we have a good time to prepare we can do a much better job."