POST TIME: 23 January, 2020 02:46:59 AM
Bangladesh ready to face Burundi challenge
Bangabandhu Gold Cup second semifinal today

Bangladesh ready to face Burundi challenge

Bangladesh head coach Jamie Day supervises a practice session of Bangladesh team ahead of semifinal match against Burundi at Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club ground yesterday in the capital. BFF Photo

Aiming to claim the final spot, Bangladesh and Burundi will face each other in the second semifinal of the Bangabandhu Gold Cup International Football tournament today at the Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka.

The match will start at 5pm. Both BTV and RTV will live telecast the match.

Talking about the Burundi side, Bangladesh head coach Jamie Day said, “They are a very tough team, both in terms of technique and physique. I would like to see a repeat of our performance against Sri Lanka.” Bangladesh won the match against Sri Lanka by 3-0.

“The only aim is to win the game and play the final. It'll be a fantastic achievement, but it’s going to be very tough because they are a good attacking side. We have to compete and make it difficult for them. We are going to the game with full of confidence,” he added.

Jamie backed his young charges in defence to cope with any threat. He, however, expressed concern about silly mistakes that could change the course of a match and poor goal-scoring ability of his wards. “Our defence must play well for 90 minutes. Palestine had only two shots on target and took both chances. The problem is that we sometimes lose concentration. We played 18 matches, conceding only 19 goals. That’s not a bad ratio. The problem is we don’t score much,” he said.

“It'll be a good challenge for defenders. They need to be strong and organised. They must have good communication with each other. We have Rayhan, Manik, Ghosh, Sushanto, and Rafi. We'll pick four from among the lot,” said the Bangladesh head coach while elaborating on his defensive options.

Jamie, who usually relies on counter attack against stronger sides, said, “We have to counter with pace and quality. Hopefully, we would be able to convert chances as we did in the last game. There is no pressure, but we have to defend well. Burundi are very good in going forward, but they gave chances to other teams like Seychelles and Mauritius to score. So, there is a weakness we need to exploit. When we get into the area, we need to make sure we have the quality to score goals.”

“Burundi are above us in the FIFA ranking. You can say they are favourites, but we have the home advantage. We have to play well and be disciplined to win,” he added.

National team captain Jamal Bhuyian, who was ruled out in the Sri Lanka match due to injury, is expected to play today’s match. "The win in the last match has boosted our confidence. But the next match is going to be totally different. We know that Burundi’s attackers are very strong. We're focusing on that match,” he said.

“Pressure is part of the game. If we can play well and win tomorrow, we can achieve something big. I don’t think the ranking will matter much tomorrow,” Jamal replied to a query.

Burundi reached the last four from Group B with an unblemished record of two victories in as many matches. Their coach, Bipfubusa Joslim, sees no reason to change his approach as he attempts to lead the African side into the final with a victory over the hosts today.

“We are prepared for the semi-final. We know Bangladesh are a good team and they play with good tactical awareness. Inshaallah, it'll be a good game,” he said.

“It's the first time we play a semifinal in Bangladesh. But we played semifinals and finals many times in regional African tournaments. In 1996, the Burundi U-20 team played the semifinal of the African Nation Cup,” he added.

“We believe in goals. We can score tomorrow as we had scored before. Our philosophy is to attack. I think both teams will attack to score. Yes, we are confident of beating Bangladesh,” Bipfubusa replied to a query.

Burundi captain Tambwe Amissi said, “Both teams are pretty strong and the match is not going to be easy. Bangladesh have good players and good position on the ball. We also know the tactics they use, so it won't be easy like other games.”