Brazilian legend Zico has come out all guns blazing against the officiating standards of the Indian Super League calling it a shame before storming out of the Kerala-Goa post match conference. Zico also said that everything in the league was against them since the incident after last year's final.
C K Vineeth scored a dramatic late winner against FC Goa, who had two men sent off, in the ninth minute of added time to secure a 2-1 victory for Kerala in an explosive ISL battle in Kochi on Wednesday. The match was peppered with fights, fouls, and controversial incidents, and it ended on a sour note for Zico's men.
“Not bad luck, what we saw here was a shame. These players worked very hard the whole week, they play very hard. They (ISL) bring referees from New Zealand to do these kinds of things here. What can New Zealand teach football to the ISL here? The Brazilian referees that came here – they didn’t have any problems in the three games that they refereed," Zico replied when a journalist offered his commiseration on the loss.
"I'm 50 years in football - I have never seen such a shame, such a situation like this. It cannot happen like this. You're just faking situations for the fans that are here - because they are here (in the stands) they think it was real. They are happy, but this is not good, this is not football."
Zico went on to add that Kerala, who completed a double on last year's runners-up this year, did not need any help from the referee to win in Kochi. The 63-year-old added that the ISL needs to work on these issues first and not get caught up in tabloid stories that come out of the dressing rooms.
"Kerala didn't need any help. They came to Goa and beat us playing clean football. Now we come here, and they put this kind of referee - we don't need it, it's a shame. It's not fair to the professionals that are playing here. They have their families to maintain, and they have to suffer these kinds of things and behavior," Zico added.
"The ISL is so much more worried about other things - but
After last season's final, Goa were left infuriated by some of the decisions given by the Japanese referee that allegedly resulted in the team losing the final and Zico now feels it "us against them" now.
"If you want to improve here [Indian Football], you have to bring referees from top countries like Spain, Italy. I lost a final last year because of a Japanese referee that didn't know how to referee," Zico said.
"Goa don't have the strength to
"Sorry, I just spoke from my heart, I wanted to say it,” were the last words Zico said before making his way to the door.