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Smalley: Saff U15 exit was a lesson

  • Published at 03:44 pm September 3rd, 2019
BFF
Bangladesh U-15 football team stretch during a warm-up session in West Bengal Wednesday BFF

Bangladesh, the champions of the 2015 and 2018 edition, made a bright start with dominating wins in their first two matches against Bhutan and Sri Lanka but fell short surprisingly during their 4-1 defeat against Nepal in the third game after which it was almost certain that Bangladesh are not making it to the final where India beat Nepal 7-0 to lift the title

Paul Smalley, the technical and strategic director of the Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF), termed lack of preparation period and poor performance in the crucial game against Nepal as the main reasons behind national U15 boys’ disappointing exit from the group stage of Saff U-15 Championship last week.

Bangladesh, the champions of the 2015 and 2018 edition, made a bright start with dominating wins in their first two matches against Bhutan and Sri Lanka but fell short surprisingly during their 4-1 defeat against Nepal in the third game after which it was almost certain that Bangladesh are not making it to the final where India beat Nepal 7-0 to lift the title.

“We had limited leading games and competitions while the Indian team had been preparing for 7-8 months. It’s a new group. All of these things come together and we didn’t perform well against Nepal because it was really important game to make a place in the final. We have to learn some lessons and move forward quickly.” said Smalley yesterday.

The footballer-turned-coach added, “They certainly have better competitors but I don’t think they (Nepal) are better team but on the day they played better. Our team looked tired while their team performed in a way we gave them the result. Nepal scored goals in right time during the game. We were very poor mentally and allowed them to dominate.”

There was not a single player from 2018’s champion team and some questions were raised about the new team selection this time. “It’s a cycle of performance. This time we certainly didn’t deal with the challenge against Nepal in the right way which we should have done. We gotta learn from it. We can’t allow it happen again. So we are going to recruit new players in October and prepare well ahead of the next year’s Saff.”

Bangladesh displayed one of the best goalkeeping displays during the 2018 edition in Nepal but this time the back-line especially the goalkeeper made some silly blunders. Smalley admitted, “Goalkeeping was also a real concern. We conceded two goals from wide free-kicks against India and the goalkeeper could have easily caught the ball.”


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