POST TIME: 4 September, 2018 00:00 00 AM
Coach Jamie’s initial target to play semis
7-nation SAFF championship kicks off today
Sports Reporter

Coach Jamie’s initial target to play semis

Bangladesh national football team coach Jamie Day (L) speaks at a press conference at the BFF Bhaban yesterday on the eve of their first match of SAFF Suzuki Cup against Bhutan today. Bangladesh team senior player Nasir Uddin is also seen. BFF PHOTO

The biggest soccer competition in the South Asian region SAFF Suzuki Cup 2018 football championship will kick off from today with Pakistan  taking on Nepal at 4pm and Bangladesh will face Bhutan at 7pm at the Bangabandhu National Stadium.

Apart from India, coaches and the captain of other six countries out of seven attended in a pre-match press conference yesterday at the Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF).  

India won the trophy for highest seven times out it’s 11 previous occasions when Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Maldives and Afghanistan won once each.   

Bangladesh have not very happy story of SAFF Championship when in it’s last 11 editions they could tasted the trophy for once at home ground in 2003 and could manage the runners-up position for two times in 1999 and 2005 while they were eliminated from the group stage in the last three times in a row.  Bangladesh eyeing to get rid of all breakdowns is going to take part after taking adequate preparations when they travel to Qatar and South Korea for condition camp and played preparation matches also while the team had the best exposure playing in the Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia.     

The hosts will have to face a huge Bhutan challenge in their first match when they have a bitter experience of suffering a woeful 1-3 defeat at the hands of Bhutan in an Asian Cup pre-qualifying match in Thimpu, which is the worst ever results of Bangladesh football.

But overall Bangladesh had better results against Bhutan when they met Bhutan for 12 times, won nine matches drew two and conceded one defeat.      

Bangladesh head coach Jamie Day when talking in the press meet said that he set his initial target to play in the semifinal then will looking forward, as he thinks all the teams here are strong.

Jamie also explained all about his team position as he said, “Last couple of days we tried well and worked hard for last four months. We are in good stage hope will do good result and first of will have to do good result in the first three games.”

“This is not pressure for me and not for player, they enjoyed in the Asian Games, worked hard and we came in this stage, now we are almost organized all, might be we will have to change plan match by match, it depends on opponents,” Jamie replied to a query.

Bhutan coach Travor Morgan, wants to begin the campaign with winning note when he said, “Realistic is we want to earn four points from group stage to move into the semifinal. If you lose points in the first match, then it would difficult to go forward.”

“What happened two years back, that is past, both teams now changed, but hopefully we prepared well for the tournament.”       

 “We played three games in five days in the Asian Games, it is tough for any team, all the teams struggled much, however, first of all we will have to make sure the knockout phase,” said Jamie.

Piter Segrt, coach of Maldives, was a talking with some confidence, when the German said, “We came here not to play friendly match but to play good game, there are huge difference between friendly match and official match.”

Pakistan coach Jose Antonio said that they are re-organising the team after a long interval of out of works and activities of football in domestic and international.

“We are actually out of any football activities of football and now it is the time to rebuild the teams and we are focusing to qualify in the Qatar World Cup 2022. We have good games in Asian Games. Now our target is to cross the group stage.”

Bal Gopal Mohajan, coach of Nepal team, said, “ Yes, we could win the SAFF for once, we are here with new team, hope will play in the knockout stage then will think about the final.”

Nizam Pakir Ali, coach of Sri Lanka team, very known face in Bangladesh football said, “Our preparation is well, winning against Bangladesh in the preparation match is a boost up for the boys, are strong side in the group, but the game will be 11 v 11. My first target is to play in the semifinal.”