SUNDAY, MAY 31, 2015
Unhappy De Kruif rues lousiness n Shishir Hoque
With just 11 days away from playing their first World Cup qualifiers match against Kyrgyzstan, the fitness level of the Bangladeshi players were a worrying sight in the 1-2 defeat to Singapore at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday. The 4pm kick-off under hot and humid conditions saw both the teams struggle to hold on their breath which clearly indicated Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, Bangladesh’s first two opponents in the qualifiers who are generally accustomed playing in cooler weather, will find it difficult to settle in their away matches in Dhaka in a 3pm start. The heat wave across the country also resulted in empty stands as fans showed up in very lesser numbers compared to the previous international matches at the Bowl. “Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan already asked BFF to reschedule because they know they will suffer. I also prefer to play at 5 or 6pm with a packed stadium. Everybody will come from work and football is much easier with 30-35,000 crowd,” said Bangladesh’s head coach Lodewijk de Kruif. “Overall, I’m not happy with everybody (the players). I’m okay with 80% of the players but we have to work on tactics and physics of the players so that everyone can play 90 minutes.” The dominating start from the home side faded inside the half an hour mark which allowed the visitors get back in the game with an equaliser in the 31st minute. De Kruif said the players made simple mistakes and were lousy in passing and moving which allowed their opponents sneak ahead.l
Both teams need to improve, says Stange n Shishir Hoque Singapore’s German head coach Bernd Stange believes Bangladesh still have some work left to do before embarking on their journey in the 2018 Fifa World Cup second round qualifiers. The 67-year old however, added that his charges also needed to improve following their 2-1 win against Bangladesh in a Fifa international friendly at Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday. “We won a very, very hard game today (yesterday). But, I have to admit that both the teams have a lot to improve on in order to make good results in the upcoming World Cup and Asian Cup qualification,” said Stange, alluding to the World Cup qualifiers that will also double up as the qualifying stage for the 2019 Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates. Stange heaped praise on Bangladesh captain Mamunul Islam and debutant Jewel Rana, who made his international bow coming off the bench in the second half. “You have a good team. I think you are going in a good direction.” l
1-2 Bangladesh defender Nasir Uddin Chowdhury heads to score during their Fifa international friendly against Singapore at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday DHAKA TRIBUNE
Singapore flatter lacklustre hosts n Shishir Hoque Despite taking an early lead, a moderate display from Bangladesh saw them concede a 2-1 defeat against Singapore in a Fifa international friendly at Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday. Much to the delight of the home fans, veteran defender Nasir Uddin Chowdhury put Bangladesh ahead in the early stages of the game. Nawaz Hameed however, brought parity at the half-hour mark to silence the big bowl and it was the visitors who had the last laugh as KA bin Kamal bagged the winner in the second half to stun the holiday crowd. This was Singapore’s maiden victory against Bangladesh in three attempts with the other two matches ending in draws. The hosts began the game brightly and continued their domination over the opposition in the first half an hour when they could have scored more than just once. Following the 30-minute mark, Bangladesh’s midfield appeared disorganised until the later stages of the game. The profligacy of the home side’s forward line was also another reason why Singapore ran away with the game. The visitors’ attackers, in contrast, made full use of their limited opportunities while their defence rode out the barrage of attacks orchestrated by their opponents. Bangladesh’s Dutch head coach Lodewijk de Kruif brought in experienced campaigner Enamul Haque, who returned to the nation-
al side after a five-year hiatus. Enamul was deployed on the right wing in the absence of nimble-footed Sheikh Russel KC winger Zahid Hossain, who missed out due to a stomach bug. The Muktijoddha forward might look all of 31 years old but he put in an impressive shift, playing for the whole duration of the ninety minutes. Later, Jewel Rana came off the bench in the second half to make his international bow.
RESULT Bangladesh Nasir Uddin 4
Singapore Nawaz Hameed 31 KA bin Kamal 72
The tie was only four minutes old when Sheikh Jamal DC skipper Nasir put the home side ahead. Captain Mamunul Islam delivered an inch-perfect free-kick from the right flank and Nasir outmuscled his marker to meet the cross and glanced his sliding header into the back of the net. Bangladesh went agonisingly close to doubling their lead in the 25th minute but Singapore goalkeeper Sunny made a tremendous save to deny Enamul. Moments later, senior forward Jahid Hasan Ameli managed to send the ball into the net but his effort was disallowed as the linesman awarded a corner to the hosts instead. And against the run of play, Singapore cancelled out the lead in the 31st minute from a
goalmouth melee. Hameed’s initial header was blocked by Bangladesh custodian Mazharul Islam Hemel, only to hit the sidepost and land safely. Hameed made no mistake tapping home into an empty net. Left winger Sohel Rana was perhaps the most disappointing Bangladesh player on display. The fleet-footed winger was unable to cope up with the pace of his team-mates and shot wide in a one-on-situation with Sunny two minutes before the first-half whistle. Rana’s miss proved to be costly as Singapore grabbed the winning goal in the 72nd minute. Although Hemel tipped away a corner, Kamal took full advantage as the ball fell kindly at his feet. Kamal, taking a shot from the edge of the box, smashed home over the keeper’s head and into the back of the net. Bangladesh will play their second and final Fifa international friendly against Afghanistan this Tuesday at the same venue before preparing for their first 2018 World Cup qualifier at home to Kyrgyzstan on June 11. Defending Saff champions Afghanistan arrived yesterday at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport at 2:45pm.
Bangladesh: Hemel; Yeamin, Yeasin, Rayhan, Nasir; Mamunul, Jamal, Sohel, Hemanta, Ameli, Enamul. Singapore: Sunny; Esah, Mohana, Mukhtar, Sujad; Baharuddin, Harun, Arifin, Yacob; Kamal, Hameed.l