Hosts India are 84 places above Bangladesh in the latest Fifa rankings and they also held group favourites Qatar in the away game last month but Mamunul said nothing would count much when the two sides take on the pitch
The most experienced member in the Bangladesh squad, midfielder Mamunul Islam expected their upcoming 2022 World Cup qualifying game against India would be an even contest despite the huge difference between the two neighbours in the Fifa rankings.
Hosts India are 84 places above Bangladesh in the latest Fifa rankings and they also held group favourites Qatar in the away game last month but Mamunul said nothing would count much when the two sides take on the pitch.
“I would say it is going to be a 50-50 contest because of the nature of such games. The team that steps up on the match day and utilise the moments on the given day will be emerged as victorious.”
Mamunul told the reporters after yesterday’s training at the outer field of Salt Lake Stadium. He also added, “Both in domestic football and national team’s performance we reached to a standard level in the last two years.”
The gallery of Salt Lake is expected to be jam-packed as the tickets had already been sold out yesterday. “The game is in Kolkata. Bangla is on the both sides of the border. It’s like we came here to play in our own country. We will also get supports.”
The most of the members in the current national side are a young group of players. Mamunul hoped the good performance of the senior ones would boost the confidence of the younger ones.
“Many players in the squad have the experience of playing 2-3-4 international matches. Very few like Yeasin (Khan), Raihan (Hasan), Sohel (Rana) and Jamal (Bhuiyan) have more playing experience. If these senior players perform well then the inexperienced ones will get confidence and I hope the people of Kolkata will watch a very competitive game.”
Cautious on Chhetri threat
India’s most experienced member, star striker Sunil Chhetri has always appeared as threat whenever Bangladesh played them in recent past. He scored twice during a 2-2 draw in an international friendly in Goa five years ago. He also scored an injury-time equalizer during the Saff Championships 2013. The two teams have not faced each other since then.
Even at the age of 35, Chhetri, the goal machine of India with more than hundred goals, scored a beautiful goal against Oman in their opening 2022 World Cup qualifier fixtures.
“He (Chhetri) makes the difference whenever he plays against any team in the subcontinent. He is a fantastic striker and finisher,” said Mamunul, later adding, “We are in good shape after last match. We have the ability to stop him.”
Goalkeeper Ashraful Islam Rana talked about their home works on Chhetri. “I watched some videos of Chhetri and tried to understand how he could make movements and from what angles he could take shots. We did extra works regarding this. They also have some other good forwards who can make difference any time. I and the defenders also worked on it”
Key Bangladesh defender Yeasin Khan is also cautious on Chhetri. “He scored two goals when we faced them last time. I was also in the team so I know what he is capable of. We have to be very careful on Chhetri.”