The lone scorer for Bangladesh, Mahbubur Rahman Sufil couldn’t stop blaming himself for missing those two chances, at the post-match presser and also at the mixed zone
It could prove to be a hard night for Jamie Day and his charges for not winning despite dominating the game, creating more scoring chances and getting close to beating Thailand against whom, Bangladesh have a poor record in the past. Even the Uzbekistan defeat didn’t leave them with such a feeling. But the pride of justifiably claiming their improvement in fitness and work rate was not hidden from those faces.
As the Thailand coach Worrawoot Srimaka said after the game, “They are no more a team we can easily beat. It becomes harder to win against Bangladesh.”
Day: Hard work paid off
This group of Bangladesh players has been involved in national team training camp since February this year under different circumstances but the activities have increased since Day took over the responsibility two and a half months ago.
Bangladesh had gone through two specialised training camps in Qatar and South Korea since Day arrived and the English coach believes that yesterday’s performance is the consequence of all the hard work they have done during those tours.
“If you look at the last few games the work rate was brilliant. Bangladesh were criticised in the past for being not fit enough but now I think anyone cannot say that of my players. They showed they are fitter and stronger,” said Day.
“We had two chances in the first half. We should lead and it might have resulted in 3-1. Thailand were technically better team than us, but we showed character, we showed desire and unlucky not to win the game.”
Sufil: A desire to improve more
The lone scorer for Bangladesh, Mahbubur Rahman Sufil couldn’t stop blaming himself for missing those two chances, at the post-match presser and also at the mixed zone. But he seemed to be enjoying his new role as centre forward under the stewardship of Day.
“If I hadn’t missed those chances maybe my team would have won the game. I will try my best to improve my performance and not to make such mistakes again,” said last season’s Arambagh Krira Sangha captain.
The 19-year old has already made a scoring connection in south-east Asian conditions. He scored his first national goal during Bangladesh’s last international friendly against Laos on March 27 this year. He played as right winger back then.
Bangladesh played a couple of practice matches against Thai clubs the previous week of the Laos friendly where he was also on the scoresheet. When reminded this, he could only smile and say, “I must improve my performance and score more.”
Sufil was playing in the lower division two years ago before moving to Arambagh where he guided the Motijheel outfit to their first Independence Cup title in 60 years. He also scored in the Saff U-18 Championship and AFC U-19 Qualifiers last year but admitted that the goal against Thailand is more special.
“My performance was a bit low during the game against Laos, despite the goal. I played on right wing at that time but now I’m playing as striker. Many things have changed since then in the team,” he said.
“We worked really hard that is why we played well against a strong side like Uzbekistan. We created more chances against Thailand. We are on the right track.”
Seniors heap praise on youngsters
The senior national players like Mamunul Islam, Nasir Uddin Chowdhury, Waly Faisal and Emon Babu have also been training together with the Olympic team members since their preparation began. These seven senior booters are also staying with the team in Indonesia, training, eating, staying together and coming to the match venue on the same bus.
When Sufil and Co went to the pitch, Mamunul and Co sat at the gallery and cheered for the juniors. Former national captain and midfielder Mamunul looked proud after Bangladesh’s dominating display against the Thais.
“Thailand are undoubtedly stronger than us. But we took the lead, got more scoring chances, and if we had availed those chances, the score could have been different. It was really amazing to see,” said Mamunul.
“They proved on the pitch how much we have worked hard in the last few months. Win or lose, we fight for 90 minutes every match, keep trying, keep running. I think this is a great aspect of current team.”