KOLKATA: Mali coach Jonas Kokou Komla claimed that his side had been the better team despite losing 2-0 to Brazil in FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 third place play-off at Kolkata on Saturday.
“It was not the best team that won. I can’t reproach the players for anything. We had a good few chances that we didn’t take,” said Komla.
“I want to highlight the players’ bravery and battling spirit,” he said. “We are pleased with their performance, and in particular, with the effort and character they showed throughout the match. It was very important to us that our players produce a response against a team like Brazil. They did just that, so we can be happy with what the team have done at the tournament.”
A goalless first half saw the African champions show more urgency and intent to break the deadlock with efforts from Boubacar Haidara, captain Mohamed Camara, and Salam Jiddou. Despite Mali’s best efforts they were unable to get on the score-sheet with Alan and Yuri Alberto punished them scoring a goal each in the second session.
“The whole team deserved this award today. We put in an intelligent display against tough opposition. That’s the way you have to play in all-or-nothing encounters like this one. We’ll go home with our heads held high, but with a sour taste in our mouths because I think we deserved better and should’ve finished third.” Komla singed off.