Booters impressed by Saintfiet's disposition
Belgian coach Tom Saintfiet has started injecting the style he wants the Bangladesh team to adapt against Bhutan in the upcoming Asian Cup qualifying playoffs from the very first day of his training, captain Mamunul Islam said yesterday.
The 43-year-old Belgian is expected to strike a deal with the Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) within a few days to guide the national team against their South Asian opponents in September and October.
"He [Saintfiet] has already set a target of wining the matches against Bhutan and we, the players, will have to accomplish it. He has started showing the way we will play against Bhutan and also how the pace of the game should be. He studied our previous matches which we lost the despite having better ball possession and he is going to change the style we played (under Lodewijk de Kruif). He has showed that it is possible to score with only three touches from counter attacks," Mamunul explained.
Mamunul, one of the most experienced players of the team, termed the new coach as a friend and a guardian. "While it took nearly six months to get close to de Kruif, it seems that the new coach is more accessible. He is friendlier yet at the same time more severe."
Though Saintfiet conducted only one session on the opening day, he made the national players realise that there is no short-cut to securing a place in the final squad for the Bhutan ties, and the only way to do so is by impressing the coach with performance and discipline during the training sessions.
"He told us that he doesn't want to know any names or jersey number of players and that he doesn't want to know how much money the players are getting. He will only consider those players who will perform," young winger Jewel Rana said. "I think this statement from the coach will increase the competition among the players and we all are eager to do well to draw his attention."
Jewel also informed that Saintfiet is telling them to enjoy the game first and to increase their concentration level.
Defender Nasiruddin Chowdhury was a bit surprised to see Saintfiet's knowledge about the players.
"He knows A to Z about the players. He even knows the names of more than 25 players and in which positions they play for the team. That means he came here after studying a lot about the team," said the veteran defender.
"We don't have any other option but to win against Bhutan and we need to be back on the right track after losing our way in recent past," added Nasir.
However, defender Atiqur Rahman Meshu, who is not in the squad, believes that Bangladesh needs a change to produce good results at international level.
"We need to build up a single team which is not there at the moment. For a long time, a group of players have been playing, but not doing much. It is time to bring a change in the squad and give room to youngsters, who can inject a fighting attitude," opined the experienced defender.