• Monday, Sep 24, 2018
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SL loss reality check ahead of Saff

  • Published at 06:52 pm September 7th, 2018
Sohel
Bangladesh's Sohel Rana in action during their friendly against Sri Lanka in Nilphamari in August Dhaka Tribune/Md Manik

This article was published in the September issue of the Sports Tribune Magazine

Bangladesh were flying after an impressive performance at the Asian Games 2018 in Indonesia where they exited in the last 16 against North Korea, but not before registering some brilliant displays.

However, they were brought right back down to earth by Sri Lanka, who beat a lacklustre Bangladesh 1-0 in the Fifa friendly at the end of last month at Sheikh Kamal Stadium in Nilphamari.

Bangladesh head coach Jamie Day never appeared such disappointed at any of the press conferences since his appointment. It was not because of the result but the way the senior national booters performed during the Lanka friendly.

Despite dominating possession, Bangladesh had only one shot on target throughout the game and failed to create any notable chances before conceding their first defeat at home against their Saff neighbour.  

Eight senior booters started the game and terming the latest team “completely different” than that of the young Asian Games side, the English coach admitted that the job to select the final squad for the Saff Championship has become much easier after the friendly.

“If you look at last week we had a group of 10 young players that was aggressive, that was on the front foot and they had the desire,” said Day during the post-match presser, before adding, “Last week we had younger ones and [Wednesday] we had the rest to show us that they deserve a place in the Saff. My question is, have they done enough? Probably some have and some haven’t. So it makes my job easier picking up the team next week.

“Unfortunately the situation Bangladesh football is in we don’t quite have that quality but what we got last week is we had a team that was hard to beat. [Wednesday] We were also hard to beat but we couldn’t do enough with the ball. That’s something we need to work on the next couple of days before the Saff.”

Bangladesh put up a better display in the second half after the introduction of some of the youngsters from the Asiad squad, like Jafar Iqbal, Jewel Rana, Rahmat Mia and Matin Mia. 

Day said the youngers ones put his side in a much better position in the last stage of the match. The 38-year old coach also blamed the premier league structure in Bangladesh for not producing enough strikers. 

“Most of the players (who) play upfront in the premier league are foreign players. If you want improvement we have to change the system,” he said.

“The clubs have to look after their player, they have to treat them well and they have to give them better coaching, better advices, because I know and I have seen it that the players in Bangladesh do not eat and train properly. So we have to change it if we have to take the country’s football forward and it will not change overnight.

“We have to realise where we are. [Wednesday] showed where we need to improve. We need to improve on creating chances, scoring goals, taking shots, taking crosses, work on the goalkeepers,” he added.

Day is expected to finalise his Saff Championship squad by Sunday before Bangladesh begin their campaign with the game against Bhutan on the inaugural day of the regional competition.