Alfaz Ahmed is still one of the most well-known figures in Bangladesh football despite having retired from playing domestic football in 2013. He had a career that spanned 25 years prior to his retirement in 2013.
The former national striker is back in the public eye after orchestrating Mohammedan’s remarkable victory against Abahani in the Federation Cup final on Tuesday. Abahani were Mohammedan’s fiercest adversaries in the tournament. The 49-year-old player, who has spent the past three seasons with Mohammedan, recently discussed the final and a variety of other issues with Anisur Rahman of The Daily Star. The following are the excerpts:
Mostbet Agent (MA): You were seen sprinting with the players during the victory lap after the Federation Cup final. This brought back memories of your playing days at Mohammedan, therefore I was wondering if you could tell me more about that?
After the stressful championship match, Alfaz Ahmed (AA): I was so pumped up that I just couldn’t contain my excitement. [Laughs] I just couldn’t help it. I was unable to stop myself. After triumphing in such a tense championship match, I felt an overwhelming sense of joy.
MA: After the match, you stated that making changes during the second half was what ultimately decided the outcome. What were some of the first half’s shortcomings?
AA: In the first half, Abahani’s wingbacks placed pressure on our defense by overlapping at every available chance. This allowed them to create space for themselves. Therefore, in an effort to prevent their wingbacks from scoring, I substituted in three new players, including two wingers. Those adjustments were successful. In the middle of the field, Alamgir Rana performed an excellent job of doing his duty by building up from the back. A number of astute plays completely altered the course of the championship.
MA: What guiding principles do you use in your coaching?
AA: My approach to the game of football is to attack as much as possible because I feel that offense is the best kind of defense. When it is three-on-three or four-on-four in the attacking third, you have a better chance of beating the opposition team’s defenders. I make it a point to keep as many attackers as possible in the attacking third. My coaching hero is Sean Lane, who coached at Mohammedan in the past.
MA: Before you took over, this group didn’t exactly wow me with their performance. How was it possible for an average squad to win the championship?
AA: Mohammedan played a 4-3-3 formation with three defensive midfielders in the first leg of the BPL. The goal of this formation was to prevent goals from being conceded and to score on breakaways. However, ever since I’ve been in charge, I’ve made some adjustments to the team’s structure, and now there are three distinct sorts of midfielders: defensive, playmaking, and attacking. We also made an effort to keep our wing players involved in both offense and defense for the entirety of the game.
Do you think that the thrilling final might spark a new round of competition between the Mohammedans and the Abahanis?
AA: Of sure, there is that potential. Following their victory against the Bashundhara Kings, the Mohammedan were on a roll and gaining momentum. In the coming days, I believe it will be possible for the management to put together a strong team, which will allow the competition between Mohammedan and Abahani to be reignited.
MA: It is being asserted that there is not much of a distinction between national players and those who are not part of the national set-up. What are your thoughts on that in general?
AA: It is correct that there is very nothing to differentiate players on the national team from those who are not on the national squad. In most cases, it is the international players that make the difference in matches played in Bangladesh.
MA: Have you ever been given the opportunity to work on your own?
AA: I made decisions on my own, but I would want to thank the manager Imtiaz Ahmed Nakib and the goalkeeping coach Sayed Hasan Kanon bhai for providing me with insightful comments. In addition, the coaching staff was strengthened by the participation of assistant coach Abdul Kaiyum Sentu in preparation for the second leg.
MA: What do you have planned for the future?
AA: Although I am Mohammedan’s coach for the time being, I have not been given any assurances for the upcoming season. In the event that I am trusted with the task, I promise to present my strategy to management.