Bangladesh head coach Lodewijk de Kruif termed the two upcoming Fifa international friendlies against Singapore and Afghanistan a wonderful opportunity to test all his players ahead of the final challenges against Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan in the second round of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers.
The Dutchman shared his views with the media following the national team’s practice session at the Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club ground yesterday. “We are taking these matches seriously. It gives me the opportunity to test all my players before I step in the real test. I am focused to win points against Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan but at the same time I have to be aware that we are playing two international matches within 48 hours and we have to keep the players out of injury. An injury to a key player may hamper my whole plan,” said De Kruif.
De Kruif appeared a little uncomfortable with some issues with the Bangladesh Football Federation. He wanted to clarify his position. “I am always for the players. I may have said something but as a critic, the players are the key of success. They fight in the field. We don’t fight. They face all the challenges in the middle. So, it’s my duty to keep the spirit and the morale of the players high,” he explained.
De Kruif said it is too early to deliver a final observation with regards to Reasat Khaton, the Philippines-based player. “He took the field after 13 hours of long journey and appeared tired. I believe as he has played in some professional circuit, the basics will be there,” he added.
Even though he admitted the lack of experience in his goalkeeping line-up, De Kruif informed that he is not worried. “I admit there is a lack of experience in the goalkeeping line-up. But, [Mazharul Islam] Hemel and [Russel Mahmud] Liton have played a number of internationals. Former [Bangladesh] Army man [Ashraful Alam] Rana is very disciplined and hard-working. I like his attitude. Naim is also responding well. I have more options. Mamun Khan, Biplob [Bhattacharjee] and Christian [Schweichler] are there for guidance. So, I don’t have to be worried with the goalkeeping,” he concluded.