Bangladesh will face off against Qatar in their Group E encounter for 2022 World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup joint-qualification
Qatar will be the toughest and highest-ranked opponents for Bangladesh since Jamie Day took over the charge of the national team as its head coach 16 months ago, but the English coach is apparently excited to have the Asian champions as opponents and urged his disciples to seize the opportunity.
“I’d love to be playing tomorrow (Thursday). For me as a coach, going against Felix (Sanchez) who has one Asian Cup and the hosts of the World Cup, what an experience it will be. It will be a fantastic experience for the players as well to move forward and become better players,” said Day in the pre-match conference.
“They have fantastic players, fantastic facilities. They are preparing to play Argentina, Brazil and England so realistically, they should be beating Bangladesh. But in football there are always surprise results. For us, we have to play extremely well, better than how we performed recently,” Day added.
Bangladesh played a couple of friendly matches against Bhutan, winning both 4-1 and 2-0, respectively. But Bhutan are no match against Qatar in terms of opponents but Day believes that the two wins would give his side some confidence.
Day revealed what he expects from his side against Qatar, “We worked on how we can stop Qatar and possibly try to capitalize on their weaknesses. Qatar will be expecting to win but for me, as long as my boys do their best and perform to the level we have shown, I can’t ask for anything more. If we get a little bit of luck as well then, you never know.”
Skipper Jamal Bhuiyan was a member of the Olympic team that beat Qatar 1-0 in the Asian Games in Indonesia in September last year with a 93rd-minute winning goal by his name. “Tomorrow’s match will be much harder. We will not have so many chances but we have to take the ones we get, otherwise they will punish us. If I get a chance, it would be a dream for me to score a goal against Qatar.”
Jamal was also involved in Bangladesh’s 2018 World Cup qualifying fixtures when they lost by 8-0, 5-0 and 4-0 against Jordan, Australia and Tajikistan but the midfielder believed that the current Bangladesh team is “more organized” with a better group of players.
There are some young faces in the team like Biplo Ahmed, Rabiul Hasan, Saad Uddin and Md Ibrahim in the attacking third and Tutul Badsha, Rahmat Mia, Riyadul Hasan in the defence. Jamal said, “My advice to the younger players would be to not be nervous, go out and enjoy the game and take the opportunity,” added the captain of Bangladesh.