As they prepare to fly for Maldives today to play the first game in a two-legged World Cup qualifying series on Thursday, the Bangladesh national football team would wish to leave behind any off-field issues that may be affecting them.
The ban of five players in the lead-up to critical matches against their South Asian opponents has hampered preparations for the upcoming matches. These players were originally barred from playing for Bashundhara Kings due to disciplinary difficulties, and they were then expelled from the national squad for the same reason.
Three of the five players — goalkeeper Anisur Rahman Zico, defender Topu Barman, and striker Sheikh Morsalin – are regular starts in the national squad and played significant roles in the team’s journey to the semifinals of the SAFF Championship in India in June of this year. The tournament took place in June of this year.
Morsalin provided the spark in the offensive line with his two goals enabling the side achieve 3-1 victory over Maldives and Bhutan. Zico was named the custodian of the tournament and was given the award for being the best in the competition.
Cabrera, who made the decision to leave those individuals off the roster, believes that he has guys who are prepared to step up in the absence of those three players.
“Unfortunately, this was not the scenario that was anticipated. Because in the end, the club was doing very well in June and in September, but in the end, we have a team, and we have to be ready to provide chances to other players,’ Cabrera said at a news conference held at the Bashundhara Kings Arena yesterday evening, after a long training session.
We have to make sure that the absence of other players does not negatively impact the performance of the squad. The Spaniard said, “We have players who are capable of stepping up and performing, as well as achieving their objective collectively for the team.”
Hasan Murad, Shakil Hossain, and Jayed Ahmed were all members of the squad that competed in the most recent Asian Games, and the head coach decided to give all three of them a go at playing for the senior team for the first time. Cabrera is certain that the positive work that his squad has done in recent times, such as making it all the way to the semifinals of the SAFF Championship and playing to two draws at home against Afghanistan last month, will not be undermined by the problems that have been occurring off the pitch.
According to Cabrera, “It will most certainly be a very difficult playoff.” “We are pretty familiar with one another. If my memory serves me correctly, the two teams have competed against one another four times in the last two or three years. The circumstance and the time are both incredibly thrilling for everyone involved. In the dressing room, you may get a sense of it. The squad is prepared, and we are all rooting for the greatest possible outcome in this first contest.
Maldives have not played a single match since June, whereas Bangladesh has played two friendly matches since the SAFF Championship. Reportedly owing to financial concerns, Maldives have not played a single match since June. After the first two matches, it will be possible to determine whether or not this would be beneficial for Bangladesh, but Bangladesh’s captain, Jamal Bhuyan, is optimistic that his side will be able to come back with a strong result.
These are the two most significant matches that have taken place so far in 2018. When we played Laos five years ago, we found ourselves in a position quite similar to this one. The significance of these games is well known to everyone. In the Maldives, things are not going to be simple at all. “We will try to get the best possible result in Maldives, and we will also try to get a positive result in Dhaka,” Jamal said. He said that he feels the performance of Faisal Ahmed Fahim and Mitul Marma in the Asian Games would help them step up for the matches in Maldives.
The second match will take place on October 17 at the Bashundhara Kings Arena in Dhaka. The victors of both matches will progress to the group stage of the World Cup Qualifiers. The teams who came in second place will have to compete in yet another best-of-three playoff over the course of two legs in order to advance to the group stage of the Asian Cup Qualifiers.