Bangladesh determined to bring home SAFF U-16 Championship title
Bangladesh coach Saifur Rahman Moni and captain Nazmul Huda Faisal expressed their determination to turn the table and beat India to win the SAFF U-16 Championship title for the third time. The final will kick off at 6:00pm Bangladesh time the Changlimithang Stadium in Thimphu.
Two-time champions Bangladesh started the campaign with a 1-0 defeat against the Indians, conceding a late goal from a defensive mistake. The players and coaches are determined not to make the same mistakes and bring the trophy home for the first time since 2018.
"We lost the first match against India 1-0. After that defeat, we have proved that we are committed to go into the final and win the title. If the mistakes from the first match can be rectified, we can win the title," coach Moni said at the pre-final press conference yesterday.
Following the first match defeat, Bangladesh bounced back with a 1-0 win over Nepal to move into the semifinals where they beat Pakistan 2-1. Moni feels they have been improving every match and are contenders for the title.
"From the beginning, our target was to win the trophy. So after reaching the final, we don't want to lose it," said Moni, adding that the team's vie-captain Ashik, who missed the semifinals due to fever, is yet to fully recover.
Bangladesh captain Faisal wanted to learn from the mistakes of the first match.
"India are always the favourites in SAFF competitions, but we will play for the victory and with the prayers of countrymen, we want to bring the trophy home," he said.
India coach Ishfaq Ahmed was more measured in his assessment of the final, saying: "Bangladesh are a good side. They played well in the last two matches. So it will be a good match. But if we stick to our plan and if we play the way we want to play, the result will follow. We want to play simple but good football and not get carried away by the final."