New Delhi/ Jamshedpur: The All India Football Federation (AIFF) were left red faced when Arthur Papas, the coach of its developmental side, Pailan Arrows, refused to field the team against Mumbai FC, at the Keenan Stadium, in Jamshedpur, on Friday.
Papas, was adamant on not playing the Federation Cup match as he felt his players would get injured on the uneven turf and asked his boys not even to warm up on the field. He finally relented after the AIFF bosses called up from Delhi and requested him not to skip the Group D outing.
The match ended in a 2-2 draw with the Mumbai team twice taking the lead.
Papas’ threat to pull out the team came as a huge embarrassment for the AIFF, which has already come under attack from several teams for organising a tournament of Fed Cup’s stature in such a lackadaisical manner.
Still seething with anger, Papas, at the post-match media conference, threatened to boycott Sunday’s match against Lajong. “The ground is really bad. I care more about my players. We don’t want to play the next match,” the coach said.
Mumbai FC shot into the lead in the 12th minute via a solid right-footer from Ndobuisi Opara. Arrows restored parity in the 45th minute when D Ganesh converted a cross from the left flank. The teams remained tied at 1-1 at the half time.
Opara scored his second goal in the 62nd minute with a header before Deepak Devrani found the equaliser in the78th minute.
In the other match, Dempo defeated Lajong FC 1-0 thanks to a classy goal by midfielder Clifford Miranda.