Beaten Bangladesh look aheadSudipta Ananda . Kathmandu
After a miserable night following their opening match defeat at the SAFF Championship, Bangladesh look ahead to the future, hoping to win their last two matches and book a spot in the semi-finals.
Bangladesh were beaten 2-0 by hosts Nepal on Saturday, making their path to the last four tricky. However, coach Lodewijk de Kruif still believes that his team can make a comeback.
De Kruif blamed his defence for the loss but did not blame any particular defender for conceding the goals.
‘I told the players that we had a hammer on our heads [on Saturday]. We did not perform well in organisation, especially in defence. Not any [specific] defenders, but the defensive organisation was not there in the match,’ De Kruif said during Sunday’s practice session.
‘Everybody came to me with excuses for the performance ten times. But the excuses don’t buy points,’ De Kruif said, adding, ‘When you teach them in the training session they understand all the things, but on the field they failed to display what we want from them.
‘In the warm-up matches, sometimes it was good and sometimes it was bad, but I cannot deny that our defence needs more work.’
The 43-year-old Dutchman hopes that the team will learn from the defeat to Nepal and will play better against India on Tuesday.
‘India will be the most important game in our life at the moment. We have to look back a bit and learn from our mistakes against Nepal, and then focus on India.
‘We know that India are the strongest team among the eight nations in the tournament, but in football everything is possible. If you don’t believe, you better stay at home,’ said a defiant De Kruif.
Bangladesh’s final group match is against Pakistan on Thursday.
Bangladesh captain Mamunul Islam, who watched the match from the sidelines due to a knee injury, evaluated his team-mates’ performance.
‘We did not play well in the first half, as we conceded two early goals in the first half hour, which was not good for us,’ Mamunul said on Sunday.
‘In the first 30 minutes after the interval we tried hard to reduce the margin and got some clear chances, but failed to convert them into goals.
‘On the other hand, Nepal converted two goals from two 50 or 60 percent chances, which we could not do.’
Mamunul is hopeful, however, that Bangladesh have the potential to beat tournament favourites India.
‘We said repeatedly before arriving here that we are not the hot favourites in the tournament, but we still have a good chance to play in the semi-finals after beating India and Pakistan in the last two matches,’ said a confident Mamunul.
‘After a poor display against Nepal we all were frustrated, but coach spoke with us [on Sunday] morning. We also realise how important the match against India is,’ the injured captain added.
Mamunul also spoke about the defence’s troubles, noting that it was difficult for them to play against the host team in front of a huge crowd.
‘We have to communicate with each other during a match which was not possible here due to the crowd’s chanting and shouting. It is normal for us to alert each other during a game. We were calling each other but to no avail,’ he said.
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