Though Bangladesh will have a definite edge due to an away win when they host Laos in the second leg of Joint Qualifiers for 2022 FIFA World Cup and 2013 Asian Cup tomorrow, the defenders will have to take additional responsibility to push Bangladesh toward to their final destination of joining 40-team qualification round.
Bangladesh had to play their away match against Laos with a comparatively inexperienced defence marshalled by rookie Tutul Hossain Badsha, Bishwanath Gosh, Rahmat Mia and experienced Yeasin Khan due to the absence of experienced Tapu Barman.
Coach Jamie Day is likely to pin hopes on the same defenders in tomorrow’s home match where a draw will be good enough for Bangladesh to progress to the next round. However, the coach knows well that 1-0 away win is not a secure scoreline. Hence, the defenders will have to take the additional responsibility of ensuring a cleansheet.
“We have to be more focused than we were in Laos because the visiting side will come all-out after losing their home match. If the defenders do really well and don’t concede any goal, then we have a good opportunity to progress to the next round with a draw,” said right-back Bishwanath.
“However, everyone has to take the responsibility in their respective positions to take the side forward. We will try not to concede any goals,” Bishwanath said, adding that they faced trouble against Laos in the first half due to the fast ground and the new ball.
“Yes, the defenders have to take extra responsibility in such matches where conceding an early goal makes players nervous for any side. However, our main focus is to win the match rather than thinking of a draw,” said centre-back Badsha, who built a nice combination with Tapu in the last few international matches as well as for Abahani.
“We must not lose to Laos on home ground and the defence will have to play with more responsibility even if the coach tells us to enjoy the match and play without pressure,” said centre-back Yeasin, who returned to the national team after a long gap due to injury.
“The three other defenders are new with less maturity but they have the speed and ability to defy the opposition forwards,” Yeasin added.