Despite a 1-0 win against Nepal U-23 side on Tuesday, the Bangladesh U-23 national team were keeping feet firmly on the ground and were focusing on the second and final international friendly which will be held at the Sylhet District Stadium on Friday.
On their return to the Bangladesh Krira Shikkha Protisthan (BKSP) from after the match on Tuesday night, head coach Lodewijk de Kruif, captain Mamunul Islam, centre-back Atiqur Rahman Meshu and right-back Rayhan Hasan made brief speeches where all the players were asked to accomplish their mission of winning both matches.
“It will not be a joyous occasion if we don't win the next match. The players have been asked to give the same level of performances in the next match too,” said Meshu, on his way to Sylhet from the BKSP, Savar along with his teammates.
“As we have been preparing for the Asian Games, our main target is to perform well in Korea and the victories in practice matches are nothing if we cannot carry these performances to the Asian Games matches,” said Meshu.
The lad from Kishoreganj, however, enjoyed the moments with the spectators after the match and termed it as his second most memorable evening after the triumph in the SA Games football event in 2010 in Dhaka.
“Actually the junior players were more delighted as they were thronged by the spectators and each one of them had to pose for countless photographs with the spectators,” said Meshu.
However, the feel-good factor was dimmed somewhat on the following day as they had to endure a gruelling 11-hour from BKSP to Sylhet. Starting from Savar at 9:00am, with a little break for lunch in Dhaka, the teams reached Sylhet at around 8:00pm, thanks to the substandard vehicles that carried the teams.
Terming the journey as horrible, assistant coach Rene Koster said that it was tough for the players to perform on the pitch after such a gruelling journey and many players, asking not to be named, expressed their frustration over such management.
In Sylhet, Mohiuddin Ahmed Selim, president of District Football Association, informed that they have taken all necessary steps to host the match. He also informed that eighty per cent of the tickets have already been sold.