Goalkeeper Shahidul Alam Sohel (SAS) is the centre of all discussions following his incredible fumble against Nepal which cost Bangladesh dearly, culminating in a group-stage exit from the SAFF Suzuki Cup. The 29-year-old goalkeeper is feeling the heat, from the supporters as well as from within himself. The Abahani goalkeeper spoke to The Daily Star's Anisur Rahman yesterday about his mistake and its repercussions.
TDS: How did you spend the night after making such a costly blunder against Nepal?
SAS: There is nothing to say. I spent a sleepless night and walked around in the room the whole night.
TDS: Were you double-minded whether to fist or grip the floating free-kick from Biman Gharti Magar?
SAS: To be honest, I wasn't double-minded. The ball was coming straight from the floodlights and I could not see the ball. I raised my hands in the air without seeing anything and the ball slipped from my grip.
TDS: Who do you blame for this defeat and what about the performance of the outfield players?
SAS: It is my fault, no one else's fault. Neither the coaching staff nor the other players can be blamed; I am the man to blame for that defeat.
TDS: Was the team capable of winning the title this time?
SAS: We had a good team for the SAFF Championship and the team had the ability to become champions. I had a big dream of holding the trophy but the whole team had to pay the price for my mistake.
TDS: You also misjudged the flight in other international matches. A few days ago Bangladesh conceded a goal as you were out of position. Is it a case of over-confidence or lack of confidence when it comes to judging the flight of the ball or ascertaining your position on goal?
SAS: I did not miss the flight in Saturday's game; I just lost grip of the ball. But I do agree I was out of position for the goal conceded against Sri Lanka [in the FIFA friendly match in Nilphamari]. I always try to put my natural performance. I have never been over-confident or started matches with a lack of confidence.
TDS: What have your family members and teammates told you after Saturday's game?
SAS: Everyone is trying to console me (he was heard crying during the talk over phone). The teammates and coach tried to console me last night. I talked to my wife who told me to think of the positives.
TDS: Do you want to say anything to the spectators who had turned up to watch the Bangladesh-Nepal match?
SAS: I have never seen such big crowds during my career with the national team like I saw on Saturday. Everyone came with an expectation that Bangladesh would qualify for the semifinals and we will be champions but it did not happen due to my mistake. I am sorry for this. I apologise to everyone for the fumble.