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BFA: It’s not our fault


Sherrylyn A. Toppin

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An international football friendly which was scheduled to be played between Barbados and India at the National Stadium last night was cancelled because of changes in the visiting team’s travel schedule.
However, an online Indian publication, rediff.com, citing unnamed sources, is attempting to place all of the blame at the feet of the Barbados Football Association (BFA).
A story published yesterday stated the tour of the West Indies was turning out to be “a hugely controversial one” and the match was called off because “a fuming coach Armando Colaco protested against the cold treatment meted out to them by the local organisers”.
According to those sources, Colaco, the coach of the Indian team, was very upset that no one from the BFA was on hand to greet them at the Grantley Adams International Airport and the team members had to wait on promised visas.
BFA officials reportedly apologized to the visitors later, and took them to the hotel, but the coach remained adamant that the match wouldn’t be played.
However, both the BFA and the All India Football Association (AIFF) maintained that was not the case.
“Due to some unfortunate logistical reasons caused by the sudden change in the travel schedule because of the problems in London, India’s first international friendly against Barbados in +One India Caribbean Tour 2011 stands cancelled to avoid undue physical strain and hardship to the players after their long flight,” the AIFF release said.
It went on to state that after consultation with both associations, a decision was taken not to play the match as it could result in “unnecessary injuries or health problems for the players”.
While this match has been cancelled, two others against Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana next Monday and Wednesday will be played as scheduled.
David Hinds, general secretary of the BFA, said he was surprised by the allegations.
“We said our statement. The Indian Football Federation had a release on their website saying it was a matter of fatigue, so I don’t know if some of the players said anything to the other media,” he said.
Hinds explained that the Indians had requested a game because they were passing through the region. However, after meetings with him and BFA vice-president Sherlock Yarde, the coach expressed reluctance to play after the flight from London.
Hinds said he himself met the team at the airport, so the allegations of poor treatment were a mystery. He said all of the players couldn’t be accommodated in the vehicle they had sent, so the others were taken to Hilton Barbados.
He said assistance was also given with the visas and BFA was scheduled to send transportation this morning to take the team to the airport to go to Trinidad and Tobago.

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