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Stephen Constantine slams Indian Olympic Association (IOA) ’ s decision to bar Asiad participation

IOA
File Photo of Stephen Constanine

New Delhi, July 29: India’s football team coach Stephen Constantine on Sunday said the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has made an appalling decision of not sending the men’s and women’s teams to the Asian Games to be held in Indonesia in August.

The IOA had decided not to send the teams to the Asiad as they could not meet the qualifying criteria set by the national Olympic body, though they qualified as per the norms of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA).

Constantine said that the Asiad comes after every four years and based on the previous performances one cannot make such decisions.

“Cannot tell you how disappointed I am. I think it is an appalling decision. Based on the results of the previous Asian Games you cannot make such decision,” Constantine told reporters ahead of the national camp for the SAFF Games in September.

“The Asian games comes after four years and it is not the same team in every four years. We are not the same team we were four or eight years ago.
“So for me it is a huge disappointment and I think we have a good opportunity to qualify from the groups, so I think it is very very poor decision,” he added.

Constantine has summoned four U-19 players — Prabhsukhan Singh Gill, Suresh Singh Wangjam, Rahim Ali and Rahul KP — who represented India in the FIFA Under-17 World Cup last year — for India’s preparatory camp, starting here on Monday, for the SAFF Championship.

Asked about goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh, who was highly impressive in the World Cup last year, has given many promises but were not fulfilled, the English coach said: “That really has nothing to do with me.”

He went on to say: “There was a lot of hype on the U-17 team. They did not win any games in the World Cup. I dont know what the hype is about, we did okay.

“Why we are making such a big deal? They did not qualify for the World Cup, they hosted it. I think too much was made. They (as part of AIFF developmental team Indian Arrows) also played in I-League and came last.” IANS