Bangladesh, who beat higher-ranked Laos in the group stage, will face pre-tournament favourite Palestine Wednesday and the local boys are supposed to make important contributions
Cox’s Bazar is all set to hold two big-scale international matches, the semi-finals of the Bangabandhu Gold Cup, and amid the festivity as many as four local boys are gearing up to show their skills in front of the home crowd for Bangladesh.
Bangladesh, who beat higher-ranked Laos in the group stage, will face pre-tournament favourite Palestine Wednesday and the local boys are supposed to make important contributions.
Sushanta Tripura, Towhidul Alam Sabuj and Mohammad Ibrahim all featured in Bangladesh’s group phase match against Philippines while reserve goalkeeper Anisur Rahman Zico is yet to get any game time in the tournament.
But all four local boys were excited before their home fixture.
Cox’s Bazar is almost ready to host international football after eight years as the two semi-finals of the Bangabandhu Gold Cup are all set to be held on consecutive days at the oldest stadium of the district named after Bir Sreshtha Ruhul Amin.https://t.co/j1oKDxIBZ2#GOLDCUP— Dhaka Tribune Sports (@Sport_DT) October 7, 2018
“My friends and family members will be there to watch the match. I take no pressure rather it would give me inspiration. This is my home ground. Here I played last year. Even if I can’t score but the team win I would be happy, but a goal would double the delight,” said Sabuj to reporters after their Monday's training session at the match venue.
Sabuj and Sushanta started against Philippines in the last group stage game in Sylhet after regular starters Mahbubur Rahman Sufil and Bishwanath Ghosh were given rest for the semi. Ibrahim came off the bench to feature for the last 20 minutes. Sushanta and Ibrahim’s performance earned plaudits from the coaches.
Experienced striker Sabuj had an average display and may find it hard to replace any of the two in-form centre-forwards Sufil and Nabib Newaj Jibon. But Sabuj’s home venue might give Jamie Day second thoughts before finalising the XI.
“Confidence has increased after the way we played our last match against Philippines. If we keep up the consistency and with a bit of luck, we can even put up a better display. Crowd and home ground also benefits us,” added Sabuj, who hails from Maheshkhali upazila.
Philippines will be looking forward to carrying on their good memories from the Asian Cup qualifying campaign when they face familiar foe Tajikistan in the semi-final of the Bangabandhu Gold Cup at Bir Sreshtha Ruhul Amin Stadium in Cox’s Bazar Tuesdayhttps://t.co/WCRtcVUu2x#GC— Dhaka Tribune Sports (@Sport_DT) October 8, 2018
Last week, Biplo Ahmed created hype in Sylhet after scoring his debut international goal during the win over Laos. The feat was recalled by both Sabuj and Ibrahim.
Ibrahim said, “As it’s my home ground, I can’t wait to take to the pitch. No matter how much playing time I get, I want to utilise my chances to play the final in Dhaka.”
The youngster from Chakaria added, “Biplo became hero at his home town in Sylhet. We also want to become our own [hero]. Anything can happen on football pitch. I don’t want to disappoint my friends, family and the people of Cox’s Bazar. I will try to do my best.”
Meanwhile, the team trained without the head coach Day, who fell sick one and a half hours before the training session. Team manager Satyajit Das Rupu also informed that the situation is nothing serious as Day is expected to be alright by Tuesday. Assistant coach Stuart Watkiss conducted the session instead.