The past two years have been a bumpy ride for Bangladesh’s Dutch coach Lodewijk de Kruif, but his success, never the less, when it mattered most has made the Bangladesh Football Federation keep faith on him.
The development in the national side from all aspects was clear in the recently concluded Bangabandhu Gold Cup and it did not go unanswered as BFF this time handed the responsibility of the Under-23 team to De Kruif yesterday.
De Kruif will continue his association with Bangladesh guiding the U-23 team in the AFC Qualifiers where Bangladesh have been pitted alongside Syria, Uzbekistan and India in Group E to be held in Dhaka from March 27 to 31. Bangladesh will play Syria, Uzbekistan and India on March 27, 29 and 31 respectively.
De Kruif echoed the tune of BFF vice president Tabith Awal who announced the new assignment and said, “We had some objectives and the top three among them were to change the Bangladesh national team’s style of play to an attractive way, to bring the crowd back to the stadium and create some new stars, I would like to say that Bangladesh played an exciting brand of football in the Bangabandhu Gold Cup, it was not the long ball rather it was small passes, the stadium were full in three consecutive matches and I think in Mamunul Islam, Jamal Bhuiyan and Vincent Hemanta we have created some new stars.”
“I believe there are no dearth of talent in Bangladesh, I love Bangladesh football and believe it has a potential to go ahead, now we have to strengthen the platform as the ingredients are there, I refused to accept other offers to stay with Bangladesh and in the U-23 qualifiers Bangladesh is poised to play another series of exciting games,” opined de Kruif.
A total of 43 nations, split into the 10 groups, will be playing the round-robin first round across 10 venues with each group winner accompanied by five best runners-up will advance to the 16-team finals in Qatar in January 2016.