x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Coach points finger at agents as defeat leaves hopes in balance

Agents have been blamed for putting off Honduras players ahead of their Under 20 World Cup defeat to the UAE on Wednesday night.

Agents have been blamed for putting off Honduras players ahead of their Under 20 World Cup defeat to the UAE on Wednesday night. That was the accusation of Emilio Umanzor, the coach of the team, following his side's 1-0 loss, which has left their qualification for the knockout stages of the competition in the balance. Players from the Central American country have generated plenty of interest among scouts following their commanding 3-0 win over Hungary in their opening Group F match.

A few agents managed to sneak into the team hotel and held talks with a few players. Umanzor, upset about the infiltration, called his team out from their beds late into the night for an urgent meeting and some players were left out of the team on disciplinary grounds. "We had several internal issues," said Umanzor, who is in charge of both the U17 and U20 national team. "A couple of the players had to be disciplined due to the fact that they were distracted by some player agents, who had managed to enter the team hotel and kept the players a bit busy.

"That was unacceptable. So we had an urgent meeting late in the night, between 1am and 2am, to solve this issue internally and make sure this kind of thing does not happen again. "Certain players were disciplined and some of them may not have seen action in this game because of it. So I would say that would be the cause of our misfortune." The episode did indeed show its effects on the pitch as Honduras struggled to reach the highs they had against Hungary.

arizvi@thenational.ae