Monday, February 26, 2024

Kruif’s boys face race against time

Bangladesh national football team faces a race against time to quick-fix their problems ahead of the World Cup and Asian Cup joint qualification round, which begins on June 11. Bangladesh failed to keep their rhythm in the recent friendly matches against Singapore and Afghanistan after taking early lead on both occasions. They lost to Singapore by 1-2 goals before being held by SAFF champions Afghanistan by 1-1 on Tuesday at the Bangabandhu National Stadium.
The draw against Afghanistan was heart-breaking as Bangladesh led the game until 90 minutes and looked almost certain to bag the first win over their South Asian opponents.
However, they conceded a goal in the injury time to leave the field dejected.
‘How many times we received goals in the dying seconds?’ I’m getting crazy of it,’ said Bangladesh’s Dutch coach Lodewijk De Kruif after the Afghan game.
‘We played very well in the first 26 or 27 minutes with a lot of power, creating chances and scoring a good goal and then again a typical behaviour.
‘I told my players many times over the last two years that when you lead 1-0 what you automatically do is stepping back and going for the defense instead of trying to look for the second goal,’ he said.
Bangladesh conceded a goal in the injury time in the 2013 SAFF championships and a friendly match in 2014, both against India, and suffered the same fate in Bangabandhu Cup final against Malaysia U-23 earlier this year.
They were bright from the start and the Afghanistan friendly was not also an exception.
Zahid Hasan Ameli headed home a carling free kick of skipper Mamunul Islam in the very fourth minute and they held the lead for the next 86 minutes.
Esmat Shanwary stunned the hosts with a left footed drive from the top of the box with just one minute from the whistle to snatch the draw.
Kruif was disconsolate for squandering the opportunity of a morale-boosting win ahead of World Cup qualifiers.
‘The problem is that the players are getting fatigued because of the hard pitch,’ said Kruif, who also held the short gap between two friendlies against Singapore and Afghanistan responsible for their tiredness.
‘Only 48 hours of rest [between the matches] means they didn’t get enough recovery time,’ said Kruif. ‘The body gets tired and they lose concentration,’ said the coach.
The lack of quality players in the reserve bench also left the Dutchman worried.
‘I have 11-12 players who are in fantastic level but when I have to come up with substitutes it’s not making my team better,’ he said.
‘So at the end of the day I’m very angry and very disappointed,’ he said.
‘There are nine days [seven days] to come up with a solution and see what we can do against Kyrgyzstan.’
Bangladesh will start the World Cup qualifying campaign against Kyrgyzstan on June 11 in Dhaka before hosting another central Asian country Tajikistan on June 16.

-With New Age input

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