Bangladesh national football team vowed to make a flying start against Malaysia Under-23 team in their first Group-A match of the 3rd Bangabandhu Gold Cup, which gets underway in Sylhet today. The match kicks off at 5.00pm and Channel 9 will telecast the match live from Sylhet. To boost up the players’ spirit, the Bangladesh Football Federation president, Kazi Salahuddin, announced a bonus of Tk 30 lakh for the team — if they beat Malaysians today.
The BFF president made the declaration while visiting the team’s training camp at the Bangladesh Football Federation Academy on Wednesday.
‘It’s just the beginning,’ said Salahuddin. ‘I will give more bonuses if they can do well tournament.’
The announcement was greeted with joy, giving the players some extra encouragement to give their best in the opening match.
Bangladesh and Malaysia national teams met 10 times in the past with the Malaysian side holding an overwhelming record of 7 wins, 2 draws and one defeat.
The last meeting of the two teams ended in a 1-1 draw on November 20, 2012 in Malaysia. Bangladesh’s only win came in 1983 in the Mardeka Cup by 1-0 margin.
Assistant coach Saiful Bari Titu, who spoke at the pre-match press conference in the absence of Dutch coach Lodewijk de Kruif, hoped that his players will be able to show their progress that they have made in recent training camp.
‘We worked a lot on our playing style and philosophy. It will be accomplished if we can implement the style on the pitch,’ Titu said, who prepared the team most of the time before Kruif took the charge.
Titu said that their preliminary target will be not to concede early goals and also not giving enough room to the opponents.
‘It is important for us to win the first match which will make our path towards the semi-finals easier,’ he said.
He was also full of praise for the Malaysian young side.
‘Even though they [Malaysia] are a young side they play in the Singapore Professional League on regular basis. So, we have to play our best football to restrict them,’ Titu said.
Captain Mamunul Islam claimed that they are not feeling any pressure before the game.
‘The most important thing is how you start the tournament. There is no pressure on us and we will try to enjoy our game,’ said Mamunul.
‘We are ready and will try to play our best on the pitch. The plan is to get points from the first match.’
Malaysian coach Mohamed Razip Ismail branded the home side as one of the favourites in the tournament.
‘It’s a good competition for every team,’ Ismail said. ‘Bangladesh are not only favourites for tomorrow’s game, they are also favourites for the tournament.’
Ismail considered the tournament as the preparation for the forthcoming AFC Under-23 qualifiers.
‘It would be good for me and my players for preparing us for the AFC U-23 Championship qualifiers,’ said the coach, adding that they played five warm-up matches before coming to Bangladesh.
-With New Age input