Bangladesh’s World Cup at BNS today

Bangladesh will go into their most high-profile game for some time looking to keep up their unbeaten record of the last five meetings against rivals Pakistan, when the sides meet today in the first-leg of the World Cup Pre-Qualifiers at the Bangabandhu National Stadium.
The World Cup in Brazil in 2014 is still about three years and a few hundred qualifying matches away but for Bangladesh that tournament could well be on another planet as the reality of their World Cup is here and now in the dull and damp Bangabandhu National Stadium today.
The record bodes well for the home side as Bangladesh have never fallen prey to Pakistan at home in the four matches that they have played since 1985 and overall they are unbeaten in their last five meetings, ever since Bangladesh won 1-0 in the Asia Cup qualifiers in 2005. The overall record though, is almost exactly even; both sides have won five of their encounters with two draws in the twelve meetings.
But records alone don’t win matches and there are plenty of headaches for the home side following only a three-day preparation camp for the match which was preceded by much drama about a change of first team coaches.
It was perhaps this reason that saw neither new coach Nikola Ilievski, nor captain-cum-goalkeeper Biplob Bhattacharjee make too many positive statements about maintaining their home record over Pakistan.
“To be honest, I only know about 20 per cent of my players’ capabilities after having trained them for two days. The only thing I could work on is the formation but unless we play competitive matches it will be difficult. I told the players to invoke the spirit of playing for their country,” said Ilievski at a pre-match briefing at the BFF House yesterday.
Skipper Biplob also looked to be suffering from a crisis in confidence and seemed confined to ifs and buts during the briefing.
“If we can put up our best performance on the pitch, we can beat Pakistan,” said Biplob, who will guide the national team for the first time after goalkeeper Aminul Haque called time on his international career a week ago.
Biplob, however, believes that the lack of preparation would not affect them much as the players, picked up for the national team, have been playing together for long time and know each other inside out.
“The Pakistani players might be physically superior to us but we are the better in terms of skill and we will try to maintain our good record at home,” said the veteran goalkeeper.
Coach Ilievski revealed his playing eleven while hinting that he might choose a formation of 4-4-2 or 4-2-3-1. If he goes with the latter, Zahid Hasan Emily will hoof it as the lone striker with a five man midfield. In case of a 4-4-2, Emily and Mithun Chowdhury will make up the front pairing with Raju, Mamunul, Zahid and Shakil in midfield and Nasir, Arif, Reza and Mishu making up the defence.
But Pakistan will be no pushovers and they are determined to break their jinx on the Dhaka ground despite increasing worries about the condition of the patchy pitch of the Bangabandhu National Stadium (BNS) following incessant rain in the lead up to the game.
“We are concerned about the weather and hope that it does not rain further in Dhaka as we have practiced training on the dry fields, which are different here because of rains,” Pakistan coach Tariq Lutfi said.
“Your players are used to playing in such pitches and amidst rain. But I am confident we can overcome it as we had played in the rain in Malaysia.”
Lutfi also warned that his squad had a good composure with a mixture of youth and experience. Four of his players are foreign-based and eight to ten players have come from the Olympic Squad.
Captain-cum-goalkeeper Jaffar Khan echoing the sentiment of his coach said, “I have been playing for the national side for a long time and in my opinion this is the best ever squad I have seen and we will win the match.”

-With The Daily Star input

Related News

Saudi Arabia would like to sign with these five most famous footballers

Sports Desk : According to Sportskeeda, Saudi Arabia is keen to sign some of the most iconic football players in the world, including Lionel Messi, to whom Al-Hilal made a big offer. Journalist Florian Plettenberg made these remarks and went on to claim that Saudi Pro League clubs are looking forward to the transfer ... Read more

Zlatan Ibrahimovic retires from football aged 41

Sports Desk : The Swedish great confirmed his retirement following AC Milan’s final game of the Serie A season on Sunday, 4 June. The legendary striker made the announcement on the San Siro pitch following his club’s final game of the Serie A season. “The time has arrived to say goodbye,” the Sweden international ... Read more

Karim Benzema set to join Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ittihad after leaving real madrid

Real Madrid confirms Karim Benzema’s departure from the club as a free agent after 14 years. Sports Desk : Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema will leave Real Madrid as a free agent after 14 years, with the striker set to move to Saudi Arabian side Al Ittihad. Saudi Pro League champions Al Ittihad are ... Read more

PSG confirm Lionel Messi exit at the end of the season

Sports Desk : Lionel Messi will leave Paris Saint-Germain when his contract expires at the end of this season. The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner joined the Parisiens on a two-year deal from Barcelona in 2021, and those terms included an option to extend his stay until 2024. Despite a string of prolific seasons in ... Read more

MSC beat Abahani to win Federation Cup after 14 years

Sports Desk : Malian forward Souleymane Diabate scored four goals as Mohammedan Sporting Club edged arch-rivals Abahani Limited in an eight goal thriller in the final to win the Federation Cup after 14 years at the Shaheed Direndranath Datta Stadium in Cumilla on Tuesday. The popular black and white outfit clinched the title 4-2 ... Read more

Akhi leaves BFF camp to move to China

Sports Desk : National women’s football team defender Akhi Khatun left the team Bangladesh Football Federation residential camp to pursue sports education in a Chinese academy as she claimed to reporters during a function at a city hotel on Sunday. While leaving the camp two days back, Akhi expressed her desire to the BFF’s ... Read more

Inter Milan clinch Champions League spot with win over Atalanta

Sports Desk : Inter Milan secured their spot in the next season’s Champions League with a 3-2 victory over Atalanta, displaying good form ahead of the final of Europe’s top club competition. Inter had an astonishing start with Romelu Lukaku and Nicolò Barella goals within three minutes, then Lautaro Martinez sealed the 3-2 win ... Read more

PSG win record 11th French league title

Sports Desk : Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) secured a record 11th French league title after a 1-1 draw at Strasbourg on Saturday. Argentine superstar Lionel Messi scored the opener in the 59th minute at Strasbourg’s Meinau Stadium. The Paris giants moved four points clear of second-place Lens with a match left in the league. PSG ... Read more

Bashundhara Kings make it four in a row

Sports Desk : Bashundhara Kings became the first team in history to lift four consecutive Bangladesh Premier League titles when they beat Sheikh Russel Krira Chakra 6-4 in their second-leg match at the Bashundhara Sports Complex in the city on Friday. Kings also won the titles in the previous three editions of the league ... Read more

Shock decisions rock women’s football

Sports Desk : Bangladesh’s national women’s football team’s long-serving coach, Golam Rabbani Choton, decided to quit his post soon after SAFF Women’s Championship title-winning team forward Sirat Jahan Swapna made the announcement of her retirement on Friday. ‘My decision is to resign on June 1. I will send the resignation letter to the BFF ... Read more

Love for Argentina recognised as AFA, bKash tie up

Sports Desk : The Argentine Football Association (AFA) and bKash Limited (bKash), the largest mobile financial services provider in Bangladesh, announced their partnership to promote further financial inclusion through sports today. With this initiative, bKash became the first and only Bangladeshi brand partner of the reigning world champions. After years of support for La ... Read more

First-ever SAFF Club C’ship likely next year

Sports Desk : The South Asian Football Federation, at its Ordinary Congress on Saturday, decided to hold the first-ever SAFF Club Championship next year. ‘The championship will start in the middle of next year on a home and away basis. The details of the championship, however, will be given following discussions among the members ... Read more

Lionel Messi in talks over Saudi Arabia move?

Sports Desk : Lionel Messi is reportedly in negotiations to move to a top Saudi Arabia club for a staggering £320 million a year. The 35-year-old is expected to leave Paris Saint-Germain after the current campaign when his contract ends after two years with the club. And the Argentine maestro is already opening talks ... Read more

Haaland breaks Premier League record for most goals in a season

Sports Desk : Erling Braut Haaland has broken the all-time record for the most goals scored in a single Premier League season after netting his 35th goal of the campaign in Manchester City’s 3-0 victory over West Ham United on Wednesday night. The 22-year-old has already broken a plethora of records in his debut ... Read more

Salahuddin makes offensive remarks at the journalists, then apologizes

Sports Desk : Bangladesh Football Federation president Kazi Salahuddin courted fresh controversy on Tuesday by apparently humiliating journalists in an off-the-record chat with his colleague at the BFF House. The BFF president apparently had a dig at the journalists who went to cover the press conference following an executive committee meeting, although his words ... Read more

PSG suspend Lionel Messi for 2 weeks over unauthorised Saudi trip

Sports Desk : PSG have suspended their star Argentine forward Lionel Messi for two weeks after he made an unauthorised trip to Saudi Arabia, reports French outlet RMC Sport. The 35-year-old forward did not report to training with PSG on Monday following the club’s 3-1 defeat to Lorient as he was in Riyadh, Saudi ... Read more

Cristiano Ronaldo to leave Al Nassr just months after joining

Sports Desk : Cristiano Ronaldo ‘wants to LEAVE’ Al Nassr and make a big return to Europe, according to stunning reports. The 38-year-old supposedly wants to leave the Saudi Arabian club only a few months after penning a €200m (£175.2m) contract. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner’s position at Manchester United became untenable before the ... Read more

Karim Benzema and girlfriend Jordan Ozuna welcome first child together

Sports Desk : Real Madrid superstar Karim Benzema and his partner, Jordan Ozuna, have become parents to their first child. The reigning Ballon d’Or winner reportedly welcomed his first child with his model girlfriend on Thursday, announcing the pregnancy last October. According to Marca, Ozuna was admitted to the Ruber clinic in Madrid on ... Read more

15-year-old Lamine Yamal becomes Barcelona’s youngest ever La Liga player

Sports Desk : Lamine Yamal became the youngest player to represent Barcelona in La Liga when he came off the bench in Saturday’s win at home to Real Betis. The Blaugrana bounced back from a shock defeat to Rayo Vallecano by beating Real Betis 4-0 courtesy of goals from Andreas Christensen, Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha ... Read more

Ibrahimovic’s season at risk after calf injury

Sports Desk : Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s injury-hit season could be at an end after AC Milan said on Saturday that the Sweden international has picked up a knock to his right calf. Milan did not specify for how long Ibrahimovic would be out but said that there a “small hope” that he could play before ... Read more