Bangladesh driven by past in opener

Bangladesh will draw inspiration from their success in the AFC Challenge Cup when they begin their SAFF Championship campaign against the spirited home side Nepal at the Dasharath Rangasala Stadium in Kathmandu today.
With India and Pakistan being the other two teams in the group, the match, which will kick off at 6:45pm (Bangladesh Standard Time) and will be aired live on BTV, appears to be crucial for both sides in their pursuit of a semi-final berth.
Bangladesh defeated Nepal 2-0 in the AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers in March, which gives them a psychological boost against the hosts, who improved a lot over the past few years and are no longer a pushover in the region.
In a Polish-born American coach Jack Stafenowski, Nepal have a shrewd tactician who can easily surprise 2003 champions Bangladesh, an injury-plagued side that are also struggling with their team combination.
The history suggested Bangladesh will still start as favourites, having defeated Nepal 11 times in their previous 18 meetings with the latter coming successful only on five occasions.
In the SAFF championships, Bangladesh won four of their five matches with Nepal’s only win coming in the last edition in Delhi in 2011. Bangladesh were unceremoniously eliminated from the first round of the SAFF, which made a mockery of their status as the region’s one of the football powerhouses.
Nepal captain Sagar Thapa broke Bangladesh’s heart when he netted from a free-kick in the last minute of stoppage time to give his side a win in Delhi.
Bangladesh’s Dutch coach Lodewijk De Kruif, however, refused to dwell on the past and put his concentration on making a winning start to the competition.
The coach’s major concern is deciding his starting line-up which became puzzling in the wake of injuries to midfielder Mamunul Islam and Sohel Rana.
`We are still treating Mamunul [captain], because he is injured,’ Kruif told reporters in Kathmandu at a pre-match press conference on Friday. ‘We will make a decision on him at the last moment. I have my best 11, but I also have my best 12, 13, 14 and 15. If he does not recover, we have good options to replace him.’
Kruif poured cold water on the rising expectation as many already started saying Bangladesh are title favourites. Bangladesh could manage just a draw in the last edition, which Kruif reminded all, saying in this context any expectation of winning title will only add some pressure on the players.
`People have to realise that two years ago, Bangladesh finished seventh. So after two years, there is no reason for calling us title favourites,’ said the 43-year-old Dutchman.
‘However, still I am very happy with my team, we have good players, they are in good shape although we have some small injuries. We will do our best and give 100 percent for the country,’ he added.
Kruif dropped a hint that he will not include any player in his line-up if he is not 100 per cent fit, no matter how important he is.
`I can’t say with certainty about the injuries, I depend on the knowledge of my medical team,’ he said. ‘If a player is 80 per cent fit only, I think it is not good. I need people who are 100 percent fit physically.
‘And also they have to be fit mentally, because it will be a very hostile atmosphere tomorrow (today) with 30,000 people and everybody has to be fit in every way,’ he said.
Home advantage is something that Nepal coach Stefanowski believes will give his side an edge against Bangladesh.
`It’s a fantastic opportunity to play a tournament at home with the fans and the country behind you, so at the start it can give our team an advantage and give them a go,’ he said.

-With New Age input

Related News

Elon Musk says tweet about buying Manchester United was a joke

Sports Desk : dhakamirror.com After throwing the internet into a frenzy with a post hours earlier, billionaire Elon Musk said, he has no aspirations to purchase the football team Manchester United.“No, this is a long-running joke on Twitter. I’m not buying any sports teams,” Musk replied early on Wednesday when asked by a Twitter user ... Read more

Messi misses out on the 30-man shortlist for the 2022 Ballon d’Or

Sports Desk : dhakamirror.com The PSG player wasn’t on the final list that was released on Friday. The 30 contenders for the 2022 Ballon d’Or, which will be awarded on October 17, 2022 in Paris, have been announced by France Football magazine, but Lionel Messi, the star player for PSG, is surprisingly not one of ... Read more

Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Chile submit joint bid for 2030 World Cup

Sports Desk : dhakamirror.com In an effort to host the 2030 FIFA World Cup, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, and Paraguay have launched a joint bid to host the 2030 FIFA World Cup. For the centennial edition, which will take place 100 years after Uruguay hosted and won the first World Cup, the four South American countries ... Read more

Argentine footballer detained, receives lifelong suspension for attacking woman referee

After attacking a female referee during a game on Sunday, a player from a local league in Argentina was taken into custody and and given a life suspension. After hitting referee Dalma Cortadi in the back of the neck, third-division Club Deportivo Garmense player Cristian Tirone was taken into custody on the field. The club ... Read more

PSG reject offer to sign Cristiano Ronaldo: Reports

Paris Saint-Germain reportedly rejected the chance to sign Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo after being offered to the club by his agent Jorge Mendes.Cristiano Ronaldo has reportedly been offered to Paris Saint-Germain as speculation over where his future lies continues to rumble on.Ronaldo has informed Manchester United he wishes to leave and has not travelled with ... Read more

Bangladesh women hit Malaysia for six

Bangladesh women’s national football team notched up an emphatic 6-0 win against visiting Malaysia in their first of the two-match friendly series at the Bir Shrestha Shaheed Sepahi Mohammad Mostafa Kamal Stadium in Kamlapur on Thursday. Bangladesh defender Akhi Khatun scored a brace while captain Sabina Khatun, forward

England’s men’s footballers suffer their worst home defeat in 94 years

England suffered their worst home defeat since 1928 with a 4-0 loss to Hungary in the Nations League. Roland Sallai netted in either half, with Zsolt Nagy and Daniel Gazdag piling on the misery late on as the Three Lions suffered a disastrous night in front of a furious Molineux crowd. Their mood was not ... Read more

FIFA World Cup trophy now in Dhaka

Sports Desk : dhakamirror.com The original trophy of the FIFA World Cup has arrived in Dhaka earlier this morning for a 36-hour tour accompanied by a seven-member FIFA delegation including former French World Cup winner Christian Karembeu. The World Cup trophy was taken to Radisson Blu Water Garden Hotel in Dhaka in presence

Germany to train in Dubai ahead of 2022 Qatar World Cup

Sports Desk : dhakamirror.com Germany will be setting up a training camp in Dubai to prepare for the 2022 Qatar World Cup which kicks off on November 21. Coached by Hansi Flick, the squad is set to land in Dubai on November 14. They will then fly to Doha on November 17 and play their ... Read more

I don’t follow records, they just come : Cristiano Ronaldo

The Portuguese’s last comments in an interview with the club’s media outlet, claimed that he does not chase records, but the records follow him. “The records, it’s coming in a natural way,” he said. “I don’t follow the records but the records follow me. So it’s good,” he said with

Argentina’s national team to train in Abu Dhabi for 2022 World Cup

Sports Desk : dhakamirror.com Argentina will prepare for the 2022 World Cup with a training camp in Abu Dhabi as part of a partnership between the Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC) and Argentina Football Association (AFA). The two-time World Cup winners will play friendlies in Abu Dhabi as part of their preparations for what is ... Read more

Finalissima glory for Argentina after comfortable win over Italy at Wembley

Sports Desk : dhakamirror.com Lionel Messi inspired Argentina to Finalissima success with a 3-0 win over Italy at a sold-out and partisan Wembley Stadium. Goals by Lautaro Martinez, Angel Di Maria and Paulo Dybala ensured the Copa America champions were able to celebrate more trophy delight after ending their 28-year wait for silverware

Angel Di Maria to retire from international football after World Cup in Qatar

By Dhaka Mirror : dhakamirror.com Angel Di Maria has indicated that he will retire from international football after the World Cup. At 34, the Argentinian international, whose contract with PSG will end at the end of June, announced on Monday that he would retire from international football. “After this World Cup, it will be time. ... Read more

FIFA WC trophy scheduled to tour Dhaka on June 8

By Dhaka Mirror : dhakamirror.com The FIFA World Cup trophy is scheduled to tour Bangladesh for 36-hour in early June, Bangladesh Football Federation general secretary Abu Nayeem Shohagh told media on Monday. ‘The trophy will arrive in Dhaka on June 8 and leave the following day for a 36-hour tour of Bangladesh,’ said Shohagh. The trophy ... Read more

FIFA appoints female referees for World Cup for first time in competition history

FIFA has appointed three women’s referees and three women’s assistant referees ahead of the 2022 World Cup for the first time in the tournament’s history. France’s Stephanie Frappart, Salima Mukansanga of Rwanda and Japan’s Yoshimi Yamashita are among the 36 referees to have been selected by the world

US Soccer reaches ‘historic’ equal pay agreement for US men and women teams

The US men’s and women’s national soccer teams will receive equal pay under a “historic” agreement announced by the US Soccer Federation on Wednesday, following years of pressure from female national players. For the first time, the women’s team representing the United States will

Jibon suspended from national camp

Bangladesh striker Nabib Newaj Jibon has been suspended from the national football team’s ongoing camp by coach Javier Cabrera on Tuesday due to disciplinary issues. All enlisted footballers were scheduled to report to the camp on Monday. But after Jibon turned up on Tuesday, the head coach did not allow him to join the

Sergio Aguero ‘very grateful’ as Manchester City unveil statue of club legend

Club immortalise record goalscorer on 10th anniversary of club’s first Premier League title and the iconic ‘93:20’ moment Manchester: Manchester City Football Club is today delighted to unveil a permanent statue of Club legend Sergio Aguero at Etihad Stadium on the tenth anniversary of the Club’s first Premier League title and the iconic ‘93:20’ moment. ... Read more

Lionel Messi Tops Forbes’ Highest-Paid Athletes List 2022

Lionel Messi may have taken a pay cut when leaving Barcelona as a free agent to link up with Paris Saint-Germain in the summer of 2021, but his superstar appeal has ensured that he takes the No.1 spot on Forbes’ run down of the highest-paid athletes on the planet, released on Wednesday. Endorsements away from ... Read more

Soccer club Chelsea to be sold for $5.2B

Chelsea have agreed terms on the £4.25bn ($5.2bn) sale of the club to a consortium led by Todd Boehly, co-owner of the LA Dodgers baseball team, the club said Saturday. While £2.5 billion ($3.08 billion) will be applied to purchase the shares in the team, an additional £1.75 billion ($2.15 billion) will be committed by ... Read more