Family’s drone sparks Honduran paranoia
HONDURAS coach Jorge Luis Pinto has slammed the drone that hovered over his team’s training session as “embarrassing” and a case of “espionage in football”.
In comments that threaten to sour relations with Australian football officials, Pinto refused to accept that the drone his staff had spotted over ANZ Stadium on Monday was innocently flown by childen nearby.
Appearing to claim Socceroos officials had scoured their accomodation in Honduras for listening devices ahead of the first leg last week, Pinto said the drone had breached the spirit of “fair play”.
Pinto has already claimed that a Honduran journalist had leaked information to the Australians ahead of the first leg, and his ire was raised further by the drone that appeared over the stadium early during his team’s training session.
According to a stadium spokesman, an FFA official had driven Honduran counterparts in a buggy around the stadium straight after and found a pair of children playing with the drone in a neighbouring park. FFA has already confirmed the drone had nothing to do with them.
But Pinto refused to accept that explanation, saying: “The incident is embarrassing for such an advanced country. When Australia went to Honduras, they checked every bathroom, every box at the stadiums where they trained and where they had the official training.
“It was an embarrassing incident. The videos (of games) show more than anything a drone can show. It just takes some of the merit away from the fair play and sporting event that will be held tomorrow.
“Let’s not be innocent, it’s espionage in football. Just like VAR (the video referee) has made it into football, drones have made their way into espionage.”
Nonetheless, Pinto (pictured) praised his team’s reception in Sydney and said his team was ready to match the Australians.
“Regardless of the incident with the drone and the journalist leaking information, our stay here has been very comfortable,” he said. “I just hope it is a good game; we need to be aggressive, and I will be even happier if we go back to Honduras with qualification.
— Tom Smithies