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Ex-booters shower praise on Day’s boys

  • Published at 03:32 pm October 16th, 2019
Bangladesh footballers following their arrival in Dhaka Wednesday Dhaka Tribune/Md Manik

Bangladesh are currently ranked 187th, 81 steps behind India, in the Fifa ranking but that remained a mere stat as the Jamal Bhuiyan-led side dominated in front of a jam-packed crowd of over 80,000 at Salt Lake stadium

Bangladesh football team were denied a remarkable away win against India in the 2022 World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup joint qualifiers match Tuesday by a late goal in Kolkata, but the brilliant show by the men in red and green earned plaudits from former players. 

Bangladesh are currently ranked 187th, 81 steps behind India, in the Fifa ranking but that remained a mere stat as the Jamal Bhuiyan-led side dominated in front of a jam-packed crowd of over 80,000 at Salt Lake stadium.

Over the last couple of decades, the gap between the sides widened as India, who are bestowed with huge investment for improving the game, look forward to reach greater heights, while Bangladesh descended through the ladder of the ranking like a freefall.

India even decided to send their second string and youth sides for the south Asian football tournaments, clearly indicating that their level is beyond the regional class.

But, under the tutelage of Jamie Day, a dogged Englishman, Bangladesh seem to be resurrecting in recent years as they registered some success in the international level and, their mighty neighbor tasted the pragmatic, disciplined football of Day’s young side. 

The former players were ecstatic by the improvement exhibited by the side. 

Ashrafuddin Ahmed Chunnu, one of the most popular players of the local arena back in the 1970s and 80s praised Day and his charges.

"India are 84 places above Bangladesh in Fifa ranking but that doesn’t matter when these two sides play each other because it becomes more of a psychological contest. It was an unfortunate draw for us as we missed many chances. It’s been long time since I've watched such a game," said Chunnu.

Former national striker and BFF senior vice president Abdus Salam Murshedy said, "The result is not giving me peace because in the last few years, we were denied by late goals from set pieces on many occasions. It’s really sad."

Murshedy added, "The opportunity to score can arrive at any time in football and you have to avail it but we couldn’t. We don’t have an opportunist striker who has the hunger for the goals. The defence and midfield have improved but there will be more fruitful outcome if they play together for a long time."

Sheikh Mohammad Aslam, one of the finest strikers the country has ever produced, also joined the chorus as he believes these players may reinvigorate the morbid game in the country. 

“This set of players is very good. We may hope that the football, which went into oblivion, may be resurrected if they continue playing like this,” said Aslam.

Although the recent match made the country proud, Bangladesh’s most glorious footballing moment against came on 18 January, 2003, when central midfielder Motiur Rahman Munna struck the golden goal in the 97th minute in Dhaka, sealing the final berth of the Saff Championship.

They went on to clinch the title a couple of days later, after beating Maldives in the penalty shoot-out. 

Motiur, the hero of that moment hailed his successors. 

“They played well. They must be given the opportunities of playing regular competitive games and modern trainings, otherwise they will fall behind,” said Motiur.

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