The Group-A qualifying round of the 2016 AFC Under-19 Championship kicks off today in Dhaka with the hosts Bangladesh taking on Sri Lanka in the day’s second match at the Bangabandhu National Stadium.
In the opening match of the day, group favourites Uzbekistan will face Bhutan at same venue. Bangladesh Television will live telecast both the games.The hosts are looking to earn full six points from their first two games over comparatively weaker opponents Sri Lanka and Bhutan before facing giants Uzbekistan in the final group match.
Two wins may be enough for the hosts to qualify for the next round being runners-up from their group as five best runners-up of the ten groups will qualify along with the group champions for the 2016 AFC U-19 Championship in Bahrain.
Bangladesh coach Saiful Bari Titu is thinking of progressing step by step to reaching their goal to qualify for the next round.
‘If we think the reality, there is every prospect to be runners-up in the group,’ Titu told reporters on Thursday.
‘But we will think step by step and first of all we want to earn full three points from first two matches against Sri Lanka and Bhutan.
‘After that we will try our best to make a miracle against Uzbekistan.’
Titu believes his charges will give their heart out to bring the nation some glory.
‘I think the players are all aware about their job and they are eager to deliver their best,’ said the coach.
The coach also hinted that they will take an attacking approach against Sri Lanka and Bhutan while keep their defense intact as the same time.
‘Everyone wants to win, I also think on that way but I always like to see clean sheet. I believe that if we can intact our own net we can definitely score.’
On the other hand, Sri Lanka team came here with a good preparation by playing in the Asian School Championship in Mongolia.
They finished fourth in that competition where teams like Thailand, China, Hong Kong, India and Singapore took part.
Despite that, the Lankan coach, Sumith Walpola is not getting carried away as he thinks he did not get enough time to prepare his charges because all the players of his 20-member squad are students.
‘We picked our full team from different schools so that we didn’t get them all the time during the preparation camp,’ said Walpola.
‘A total of 14 players were also busy with their club assignments so that we could prepare them for only two days in a week.’
-With New Age input