Mumbai, Jan 26 (IANS) Australia striker Sam Kerr on Wednesday sent a heart-warming message for the Indian women’s football team, who were ruled out of the ongoing AFC women’s Asian Cup due to COVID-19 cases in the camp. In the short video, Sam was telling the Indian team to use the unfortunate ouster as a ‘fuel to come back stronger’.
India, hosts of the ongoing 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup, had to bow out of the tournament after 12 players tested positive for COVID-19, which led to them unable to field 13 players required for their second Group A match against Chinese Taipei on January 23.
“Hi girls, this is Sam Kerr from the Australian national team. Just wanted to send you guys a message and say how sorry I am for the situation you guys are in right now. I am so disappointed for you guys, I know you had been working so hard for this tournament. Use this as fuel, to come back stronger,” said Sam in a video posted by the All India Football Federation (AIFF).
“I was looking forward to hopefully playing you guys but it wasn’t to be, hopefully in the future we’ll meet. Good luck in your future endeavours and hopefully one day we’ll see you back in this tournament,” added Sam, the current top goal-scorer in the tournament.
Earlier on Wednesday, Thomas Dennerby, the head coach of India women’s football team, blamed the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) of laxity in conducting COVID-19 tests on the staff of the hotel which resulted in 19 of his 23 players testing positive and subsequently had to withdraw from the AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022.
The 62-year-old from Sweden claimed that the team got the infection from the staff of the hotel, which was chosen by AFC and said there was laxity in testing the hotel staff, who he said were tested on January 11 and then only on January 17.
He claimed that AFC got the test results but sat on it for nearly 48 hours before delivering it on January 19. Dennerby went on to claim that seven staff members including cooks and serving staff, who were in a bio-bubble inside the hotel, tested positive for Covid-19.
In response, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) pointed towards its record of successfully conducting major tournaments during the pandemic to counter allegations by Dennerby that protocols were not followed during the Women’s Asian Cup India 2022, which resulted in his players testing positive for COVID-19.