Hosts Bangladesh will begin their Suzuki SAFF Cup campaign against Bhutan on the back of a commendable Asian Games campaign where the team advanced to the knockout stage with four points, beating Qatar and holding Thailand to a draw.
Playing at home, the expectations from Bangladesh to do well is high but the Bangladesh head coach Englishman Jamie Day insists that there is no added pressure on the team. “I put no pressure on the players, regardless of how we do in the tournament, as long as they show the same attitude and desire that I have seen in the last 14 weeks.”
Under Day, Bangladesh has employed a very defensive style of football and is known to attack swiftly on the counter. However, he insists that there might be times when they will have to take the game to the other teams. “I feel we are good at counter-attacking. We are well organised and we can break with pace to get forward quickly. We have to be adaptable and change the way we play in certain games and in certain times. We have a plan of way against each team.
Bangladesh is pitted against Bhutan, Nepal and Pakistan in Group A
Bangladesh are unbeaten in their five previous meetings with Bhutan in the SAFF Suzuki Cup, winning four of those games. Talking about the match, Bhutan coach Trevor Morgan said, “Bangladesh are one of the favourites for the competition, backed by a home support. It’s up to us to change people’s perceptions. It’s a wonderful opportunity for our players to show what they can do, what they’re capable of. We’ll be able to see what progress we’ve made in the last few months tomorrow. We have to play a high standard of football and this competition will allow us to do that. Only then can we make further improvements”.
Did you know?
Bhutan have conceded 14 goals in their five SAFF Suzuki Cup games against Bangladesh, an average of 2.8 per game, while scoring just twice in return.
Head to head
Bangladesh 4W 1D 0L Bhutan: 0W 1D 4L