SAFF DEBACLE PROBE
Footballers blame physioStaff Correspondent
Seasoned footballers of the Bangladesh national team blamed physical trainer Mohammet Yamali for their weariness during the recently concluded 10th SAFF Championship in Nepal where they went out in the first round.
While facing queries of the fact-finding committee on Thursday at the BFF House, midfielder Atiqur Rahman Meshu, wing-back Waly Faisal, playmaker Mamunul Islam and forward Zahid Hasan Ameli presented their frank observations on the team’s debacle.
When inquired to describe the quartet’s lack of fitness during the regional football competition, Meshu and Waly pointed their finger at Bangladesh’s Turkish trainer and raised questions on his capability.
‘The physical trainer [Yamali] trained us in the same style during his two-month stay. I don’t know how well he knows his training methods,’ said Meshu, who scored against India in the second group match at the SAFF Championship.
‘I told the officials of the committee that we did not get enough rest to recover from two months of intense training. The coach [Lodewijk de Kruif] gave us 9 or 10 days rest before the tournament started but it was not sufficient for us,’ he added.
Meshu, however, expressed his satisfaction with the work done by head coach De Kruif.
‘I’m very satisfied with the head coach [De Kruif] as he taught us many things but we failed to execute them on the field,’ said Meshu who played at different positions during the tournament.
Waly was of the opinion that Yamali placed undue pressure on the players through the gruelling training sessions besides saying that the Turk lacked variation in his methods.
‘We didn’t see any variation in his training as every day he made us go through the same thing for two months. The players who were 80 percent fit, the trainer forced them to give their hundred percent during the practice sessions. That is one of the major reasons why the players incurred injuries,’ said the veteran left-back.
Mamunul, captain of the national side, refused to indulge himself in the blame game and instead rued injury problems and bad luck.
‘Injuries significantly reduced the strength of the team. Nobody can say anything about injuries. It was my bad luck that I got injured just before the tournament started,’ said Mamunul, who played only a few minutes as a substitute in the last two matches against India and Pakistan.
‘I played despite my injury. I gave my best. I could have played the whole game but if I had played it could have been bad for our team. Because then the team would have played with 10 men as I could only give my 50 percent effort,’ explained the skipper.
Mamunul, however, requested all to put the disappointment of the SAFF Championship behind and concentrate on the future.
‘I want to say to the BFF, coaches, officials and all football-related people to stop the blame game. If we do not stop then Bangladesh football will not improve. Whatever happened has happened and it is in the past. We now have to prepare ourselves for the next SAFF Championship,’ said the 24-year old skipper.
Meanwhile, Sheikh Russell Krira Chakra coach Maruful Haque, Mohammedan Sporting Club Limited coach Saiful Bari Titu and Sheikh Russell president Nurul Alam Chowdhury will present their thoughts to the committee regarding the SAFF under-performance today.
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