Michael Skibbe Unhappy with Kostas Manolas Ban

Greece national team coach Michael Skibbe is disappointed with FIFA deciding to ban Kostas Manolas from the World Cup qualification game against Croatia. The Roma defender has been suspended on grounds that he has been intentionally seeking a yellow card in order to avoid suspension in a crucial match. However, Skibbe has decided to disagree with this decision and the claims that the one match suspension for the defender is not for an illegitimate reason. Kostas Manolas picked up a yellow card for time wasting in the recent 2-1 victory over Cyprus. However, the aspect of time wasting is a common situation when the team has a slender advantage like in the case of Greece.

Yet, FIFA decided to punish the defender even though he had already sat out of the final group match against Gibraltar. This was a meaningless game with Greece managing a comfortable 4-0 victory as expected. However, FIFA felt that Kostas Manolas was deliberately looking to avoid this game in the hope of being ready for the game against Croatia, which has far more greater implications with regard to qualification to the World Cup 2018. Skibbe says that it was natural for the player to attempt to waste some time in order to seal the game against Cyprus. He felt that there was no need for an extra suspension.

"I do not know how that was decided. We were ahead of Cyprus 2-1 and in the last few minutes every team around the world lets some players get a yellow card for delaying. So Manolas got a yellow card and did not play against Gibraltar. And now FIFA has decided four weeks later to punish him for something that all players do. We will be ready, we have been working for the last two years to go to Russia. Croatia has a good team but we will do our best with the players we have to qualify,” said the Greece national team boss.