There was a record low attendance at a Maldives national football team match, local media reported, with the captain and his second-in-command both missing the 7-0 thrashing of Bhutan.
Although a thin turnout is normal at league games, the National Stadium in Malé is usually packed for national team matches.
Official figures were not available from the Football Association of Maldives, but Mihaaru reports that Tuesday night’s game was sparsely attended.
Ali Suzain, veteran footballer and former director of the national teams, tweeted “it was a record lowest attendance.”
“In 39 years of international football history for Maldives, tonight was a record lowest attendance in an international match in our National Stadium,” he said.
The Maldives played without their most popular player skipper Ali ‘Dhagandey’ Ashfaq, after coach Petar Segrt removed him from the squad as a disciplinary measure for not appearing at a pre-match press conference.
Vice captain Ashadh ‘Adubarey’ Ali also abruptly retired from the national team just hours before kick-off.
“With immediate effect from today, I have retired from the National Football Team,” he tweeted, without stating a reason for his decision.
But Mihaaru reported his move came after Segrt failed to deliver a promise on making him permanent captain of the team.
According to the paper, the coach’s decision to appoint Akram Abdul Ghanee instead had upset the forward.
Segrt apologised to Adubarey at a press conference and hoped the player would return to the national team.
Photo: Football Association of Maldives