Sharjah: The Uzbekistan coach has urged referees to function more as educators rather than strict disciplinarians during the course of junior-level football competitions.
Reduced to 10 men after the sending-off of defender Akramjon Komilov in the 24th minute, Uzbek coach Dilshod Nuraliev wondered if referee Pavel Kralovec of the Czech Republic had done justice by depriving his team of a player.
“These are 16 or 17-year-olds, they are not mature players,” Nuraliev told media after his team went down to Honduras on Monday. “They need to be talked to and educated even during the course of the match and that is where a referee can play such a vital role as educator for these players who will play at an even higher level in the future. These players don’t need to be punished like the way our player was.”
Surprise-package Honduras went on to ride on a 74th minute strike from substitute Jorge Bodden to improve on their World Cup record and mark their first quarter-final after the solitary-goal win.
“It makes me wonder on the role of the referee in determining the outcome of a match,” Nuraliev said. “In our case, we had just two yellow cards during our first three group games, and then suddenly we have four yellows and a red in one match.
“I don’t have an explanation for the referee’s actions. But all I can say is that we have suffered on two counts: we lost the match and secondly, all the hard work put in by the coach and the support staff over the past few months has all gone down the drain.
“I am not saying that the referee was the only reason we lost. But I can safely say that he was the main man to have an impact on the outcome of the match.”