Jahar Das lashes out at BFC fans, AIFF

The Aizawl FC coach took exception to chants of "relegation" during the match against Bengaluru FC. He also criticised AIFF for granting relegation immunity to DSK Shivijians. Aizawl FC, which finished the league one spot above DSK Shivijians, was relegated from I-League.

Aizawl FC's Ayeni Joel Sunday Yinka (red), scoring a goal during Federation Cup 2016 match against Bengaluru FC, at Sree Kanteerava Stadium, in Bengaluru on Tuesday.   -  K. Murali Kumar

A miffed Jahar Das, the Aizawl FC coach, lashed out at Bengaluru FC (BFC) supporters after his team dumped BFC out of the Federation Cup with a 3-2 victory (5-3 on aggregate) here on Tuesday.

Jahar took exception to chants of “relegation”, heard for a brief while, at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium. Aizawl FC was relegated from the I-League main draw over a week ago, but Jahar believes strongly that his men do not deserve this fate.

“The crowd was chanting 'relegation', and I was feeling so bad. Your team (BFC) was beaten at our ground (first-leg of the Federation Cup, at Aizawl) as well as in your ground, so how can you say that we are a relegated team? Shame on the fans. Let them support their team, but how can they insult us when they can see that they are not the better side? Can we not expect some humanity? I pity the BFC fans,” Jahar said.

The 69-year-old also criticised the All India Football Federation (AIFF) for granting relegation immunity to DSK Shivijians, a corporate entry. Aizawl FC had finished the league in eighth-spot, one above bottom-placed DSK Shivijians. Yet, it was the Mizoram club which took the drop.

Jahar explained that this was unfair, especially given that Aizawl FC had defeated DSK Shivajians on the two occasions that the sides met during the I-League. It must be noted that the AIFF had clearly defined all the rules on the matter before the season began.

“Aizawl FC - after playing years after years in the I-League second-division - was promoted last year. How then can a team, which is not equal to us, be given safety from relegation? They (DSK Shivajians) have not even played second-division. How can they get this status of playing first-division? Where does this rule come from?

In which part of the world does this rule exist?,” an emotional Jahar asked.

He added that Aizawl FC's Federation Cup victories over BFC - the I-League champion - were a form of protest. “How can a team that was relegated defeat the champion twice? Something is wrong. We never wanted to win the Federation Cup. We only wanted to show our strengths. People protest in different ways, and we are doing so with our performances,” the coach said.

The decision to reinstate Aizawl FC rests with the AIFF executive committee, and Jahar called on the big guns from Mizoram to support the cause. “The formal letter will not only be sent by the club, but also from the Chief Minister and Governor of Mizoram. When we played against Mohun Bagan at home (Aizawl won 2-1), the Chief Minister was at the stadium. A letter just from the club will not be sufficient.

The Chief Minister has a good relationship with Praful Patel, President of AIFF. I believe that the (official) letter has already reached the AIFF.”

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