Even though the 19th Asian Games will end on September 23, the football competition begins today at the Xiaoshan Sports Centre Stadium with Bangladesh taking on cross-border rivals Myanmar at 2:00 PM Bangladesh time.
Ahead to today’s first encounter, the Bangladeshi squad trained with complete attention yesterday, completing the allotted one and a half hours at the Dianzikeji University Stadium.
Bangladesh’s coach Javier Cabrera, positioned on the magnificent stadium’s gallery, gave his men a yelled order to swap places while not in play before leading a drill on set-piece utilization.
Winger Rabiul Hasan said, “Just pray for us so that we can perform well,” as they were making their way back to the team bus.
While Hasan Al Mamun, the assistant coach, gave a briefing regarding the game, Cabrera refused to talk with the media.
A few of our players joined the team the day before we left, when they were in Thailand with the U-23 squad. Furthermore, because of club commitments, certain players from Bashundhara Kings and captain Jamal Bhuiyan were unable to attend, thus we were only able to acquire two senior players instead of three,” Mamun said. “With these young players, we want to get experience playing abroad. Our guys’ performance in accordance with our strategy will be put to the test against formidable opponents like China, India, and Myanmar.”
Nevertheless, Mamun said that they will analyze the data they had and take on Myanmar, which is placed 29 spots higher than Bangladesh.
“We must have researched us, just as they must have studied the tactical side of Myanmar. We saw their main players and their style of play. The players are aware that the group will open up to us if we can achieve a positive outcome. The four best third-place finishers in each group will proceed to the next round in addition to the top two teams from each group,” Mamun said.
Although the senior team’s recent success was mostly due to the efforts of forwards Sheikh Morsalin and Rakib Hossain, the assistant coach feels that forwards such as Faisal Ahmed Fahim, Suman Reza, and Jafar Iqbal need to demonstrate that they are as valuable.