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Friday May 6, 2011

Kezman says AFC Cup is a stupid tournament

HONG KONG: Former Chelsea striker Mateja Kezman, who now plies his trade in Hong Kong, has rubbished one of Asia’s top club competitions as “stupid” and “the worst tournament I have played in”.

The 32-year-old launched the scathing attack after his South China side – where ex-England international Nicky Butt also turns out – tumbled out of the AFC Cup on Tuesday after losing 4-2 at Indonesian side Persipura Jayapura.

“This is an unfair competition as the home side can have a great advantage,” the Serbian, who once played for Atletico Madrid and Paris St Germain, was quoted as saying by the South China Morning Post newspaper.

“In fact, it is the worst tournament I have played in.”

Kezman, whose future remains uncertain because his contract with South China reportedly expires this month, said his side had endured 18 hours of travel for the game and the afternoon kick-off meant playing in searing heat.

“I swear I was fighting to survive under these conditions and it was very difficult,” he said. “A strange competition and kind of stupid.”

Ex-international Kezman and former Manchester United star Butt signed for Hong Kong’s top side on short-term deals, but Kezman said he was keen to stay on.

“I haven’t spoken to the boss yet, but I want to say I have been very happy in Hong Kong over these months,” he said.

“Although the football here is a bit lower standard than I expected and the competition is not so strong, the city is amazing, the club is nice, the boss is so patient and the people are so kind to help me.” — AFP