Booters resigned to fate
The Bangladesh national football team returned home yesterday evening after their disappointing performance against Lebanon in their away match of the World Cup pre-qualifying in Beirut and will start preparation for the July 28 home match from today.
The players, officials and coaching staff looked disappointed with their 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Lebanon that all but shattered Bangladesh's hope of playing in the qualification round with the top 20 teams from Asia.
However all of them readily admitted that the Lebanon side were much better than Bangladesh.
“Lebanon are a far better side than us. They have several players who are playing in leagues aboard so it was not unusual to lose against Lebanon,” Macedonian coach Nikola Ilievski told reporters at the airport.
The coach also believed it would be an uphill task to overcome a 4-0 deficit in the home match and almost gave up hope.
“The Lebanese are physically strong and I am not sure whether we can overcome the deficit,” he said.
About the exclusion of goalkeeper Biplob Bhattacharjee, Nikola said, “Mamun [Khan] was in better form than Biplob so I was thinking of the change. Moreover Biplob had an upset stomach at the last moment which made the decision obvious.”
He, however, said that Bangladesh could have conceded more goals had Biplob played while Mamun Khan saved at least three good chances.
“To be truthful, none of our 11 players could perform well. Besides, Lebanon with three to four quality players were the better side on the pitch. Although we created a few scoring chances we could not avail any of them,” said captain Mohammad Sujan adding that coach Nikola Ilievski had chosen the playing eleven keeping goalkeeper Biplob Bhattacharjee out of the starting squad.
Sujan believes they have a chance to move into the qualifying round. “Nothing is impossible but we need a bit of favour as the opponents are a good side.”
Badal Roy, chairman of the national team management committee, was quite disappointed with the performance of the national team and raised questions about the booters' commitment.
“Lebanon played superb football and the goals they scored were also beautiful. To be frank, Lebanon are ahead of us in all departments,” said Roy who travelled with the players in a bid to inspire the national team.
“Our footballers have no strength and ability to play with responsibility. They have also no commitment, even they could not play their natural game what they showed in the domestic competitions. To be truthful, Bangladeshi booters are not capable of playing in international matches,” said a disappointed BFF vice president.
Roy also emphasized the need of improving the club-level training and facilities but avoided questions about the lack of preparation of the national team before the Lebanon ties.