AFC U-23 Qualifiers Group E favourites Uzbekistan drew goalless with Bangladesh Premier Football League outfit Dhaka Abahani in a practice game at the Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club ground yesterday.
The Uzbeks who arrived in the capital on March 20, seven days ahead of qualifiers, showed their skills and standards against the local outfit Abahani who fielded five foreigners. However, the game did prove that the visitors are yet to get adapted with the conditions.
“Result of this match does not matter, I am happy to see all my players take the field and play a match which is very useful for them, we came here early to get accustomed with the conditions and still we have three days left ahead of the main fixture, we hope to get accustomed with the conditions before the main fixtures,” said Uzbekistan coach Bakhtiyar Ashurmatov.
Forwards Jamshid Ishkhanderov and Sardor Rashddov, defender Baburbek Yuldashov, Igor Sargeev and Vladimir Kozak from the current Uzbek squad carries the experience of playing against Bangladesh in the Asian Games football at Incheon in September 2014.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh coach Lodewijk de Kruif, assistant coach Saiful Bari Titu and goalkeeping coach Christian Schwichler were also present during the game in Dhanmondi and observed their opponents strength from close.
After the game De Kruif praised Abahani but categorically indicated Uzbekistan as the favourites. “Abahani played with five foreign players who made it a strong line-up. But the Uzbekistan team also showed their capabilities, they are skilled and technically and tactically efficient,” said the Dutch.
De Kruif, however, did not make any comparison between the current team and the team to which he lost 3-0 in the Asian Games. “Four of five players from that match are here, among them Jamshid Iskhanderov is a very good player, they have the infrastructure and the players, so the standard does not vary very much,” he added.
“In a practice match the players put their 70 to 80 percent, so its not all,” concluded De Kruif.
India U-23 up and running
India Under-23 football team wasted no time to land their feet at the Bangabandhu National Stadium as they rushed to the venue for practice just hours after arriving in Dhaka yesterday.
The 23-member squad underwent a two-hour practice session under head coach Savio Medeira.
The Indian squad prepared themselves in a camp in Goa from March 4 for the tournament in which they face Uzbekistan in the first match on March 27. They play Syria on March 29 and wrap the fixtures up against hosts Bangladesh on March 31.
GK: Amrinder Singh, Albino Gomes, Rehenesh. Defenders: Abhishek Das, Satish Singh, Sankar Sampingraj, Deepak, Bikramjit Singh, Sandesh Jhingan, Pritam Kotal. Midfielders: Germanpreet Singh, Nikhil Kadam, Dhanachandra Meetei, Prabir Das, Siam Hangal, Manish Bhargav, Avinash Rui Das. Forwards: Sumit Passi, Haokip Thonghkosim, Rajinder Kumar, Jayesh Rane, Vinit Rai, Holicharan Narzary.