The national football team returned home yesterday in happy mood after holding India to a 2-2 draw in a FIFA International Friendly in Goa on Wednesday.
The draw against six-time SAFF Champions seems to have given the team boost in confidence, which was shattered by their dismal performance in the SAFF Championship last year. The players were greeted with garlands by the Bangladesh Football Federation officials at the Shah Jalal International Airport.
“We said before departure that we believed in ourselves and our confidence was boosted by Sheikh Jamal's performance in the IFA Shield recently. India also admired us after the IFA Shield. We were determined not to lose the game,” said skipper Mamunul on his return. “We want to carry on this consistent performance of the national team in future.”
Mamunul demanded arrangement of more international matches in a bid to make cohesion among the senior and junior players.
“We need to play more international matches to improve communication between the players as well as earn more exposure. Meshu, Emily, Mithun, Zahid and I have been playing for the national team for a long time and we understand each other very well and it is necessary to make cohesion among the players to emerge a strong side.”
The midfielder believes that they should have won the game, but for a last-gasp equaliser from Sunil Chhetri and a controversial ruling out of Bangladesh's third goal which deprived them of a historic win.
The team management is worried about conceding goals in the dying moments as Bangladesh conceded last-gasp goals in their last three international matches, twice against India and once against Pakistan.
“The loss of concentration in the dying minutes might be one of the reasons behind conceding late goals, but we want inspect deeply where the problems lies,” said BFF vice president and national teams committee member Tabith M Awal adding that they were taking the result as a positive note with the inclusion of four new players in the squad.
Tabith informed that they have already invited India to play a friendly in Dhaka in next FIFA friendly date and that they would also arrange two more FIFA friendlies on home soil against Thailand and Malaysia.
Head coach Lodewijk de Kruif said he was happy with the result but expressed his surprise over the appointment of an Indian referee in the game.