KATHMANDU, Jan 22: McDowell´s Ranipokhari Corner Team (RCT) coach Madhu Karki admitted on Tuesday that the team´s match against Nepal Army Club on December 29 during the Martyrs Memorial A Division League turned unfortunate for them.
In the tense match, RCT´s influential forward Olawal O Afeez was sent off during the stoppage time while coach Karki was also sent off during the hour mark. While leaving the pitch, Afeez had pushed match referee Sudish Pandey.
Later, the ANFA disciplinary committee decided to ban Afeez for a year from any official football tournament to be played in the country.
"The incident against Army caused a great loss to the team," said coach Karki during the post-match conference on Tuesday.
Karki, who refused to leave the technical box, was forced to leave the ground with the help of security personnel. Karki was also slapped a three-match touchline ban for the offense.
"The ban on Afeez was costly for the team," said Karki about the African forward who is rated as one of the best among the nearly five dozen foreign players in the league. Afeez played for at least 90 minutes in nine of the 10 league matches, scoring four goals and contributing two direct assists. Saraswati coach Dhruba KC had also described Afeez as one of the two best foreign players in the league, the other being Yona Elias Ndabila.
RCT coach Karki denied allegations that he had used foul language toward the assistant referee which prompted the referee to send him off.
"After the order to leave the field, the bench also became tense and got involved in argument. Had I been in the technical area, Afeez would not have been manhandled the referee. I am the one who understands him the most."
"Afeez had created the most chances for striker Amar Dangol," said Karki. Dangol has scored nine goals in the league. Afeez, who will return home in a few days, has vowed to return to Nepal next year.
"We did not appeal against the ban because we had no hope that his ban would be reduced," Karki said.
Karki admitted that the incident had tarnished the club´s image and also promised not to criticize the match referee in the future.