• Sunday, Oct 24, 2021
  • Last Update : 08:06 am

Day: This Qatar side are different

  • Published at 08:44 pm October 7th, 2019
Bangladesh coach Jamie Day briefs his charges during training in Dhaka Saturday BFF

The youth team beat host Qatar 2-0 in the AFC U-16 Championship qualifiers in 2017 while the Olympic side (U-23) edged past Qatar 1-0 in the Asian Games in Indonesia last year

While Bangladesh have beaten Qatar twice in the last two years, none of them involved the senior side. 

The youth team beat host Qatar 2-0 in the AFC U-16 Championship qualifiers in 2017 while the Olympic side (U-23) edged past Qatar 1-0 in the Asian Games in Indonesia last year. 

The current Asian champion however, are much stronger and different than their younger sides.

Only two players from Qatar’s Asian Games squad have been included in the latest 23-man squad for the 2022 World Cup qualifiers but both goalkeeper Mohammed Al-Bakri and defender Tareq Salman are not among the first choices of Spanish coach Felix Sanchez.

Assistant coach Stuart Watkiss was in the Bangladesh dugout during the Asian Games. 

Terming Thursday’s game against Qatar as the “toughest game” since he and head coach Jamie Day took over, Watkiss elaborated on the differences between the two Qatar sides.

“These players are bigger, stronger, quicker and better than the U-23 players. Their movement with the ball is very good. They move much more quickly. They behold a better and higher standard than when we last played against them. They have better technical ability and also have the ability to think quicker than the average players. This will be a big test for the Bangladesh players,” said Watkiss after Monday's training session.

Midfielder Jamal Bhuiyan, goalkeeper Ashraful Islam Rana, forwards Biplo Ahmed and Saad Uddin started against Qatar in the Asian Games. 

Captain Jamal, who scored the winner in injury time to give Bangladesh their historic progression to the knockout stage, reminded the massive difference between Qatar and Bangladesh.

“We will be playing against the Asian champion, the No 1 team in Asia, while we have never qualified for the Asian Cup even. This team have the best of players who play in big leagues in the Middle East. Everybody knows there is a big difference. We might even have to defend for 90 minutes. Everyone in the playing 11 have to perform their best,” said Jamal, terming their 2018 World Cup qualifier against Australia as the toughest match of his career with Qatar being the second. 

After thrashing Afghanistan 6-0 in the opening Group E game, Qatar had 27 shots and 15 corners against only two shots and a single corner of India during the draw in their previous game. 

It’s evident that injury-shaken and youthful Bangladesh defence has to take most of the load Thursday. 

The most experienced defender Raihan Hasan can only hope against all odds.

“We got a win against Qatar in Asian Games. But this Qatar team are miles ahead. Our recent performance though is also very good. We, the players, are confident of giving something good. If we can’t win, we can at least draw, that’s our hope with the home advantage we have,” said the 25-year old versatile full-back whose special ability is delivering long throw-ins.

Watkiss however, summed up what they need to do. 

“We will not ask the players to do anything different but they have to do the things quicker whatever they do. They have to be organized quickly, pass quicker than they normally do. It’s a big test but it is also a brilliant occasion to have the Asian champion in the World Cup qualifiers,” said Watkiss.

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