After Jamie Day was appointed as head coach about two years ago, the Bangladesh national football team’s defensive structure improved significantly. With time, Bangladesh’s backline started to be considered as one of the strongest aspects of the team.
However, Bangladesh’s shaky defending against Palestine in their Bangabandhu Gold Cup opener was what allowed the side to concede twice and subsequently lose the match.
It was expected that the return of centre-back Tapu Barman would strengthen the backline but the four-man defence, comprised of Tapu, Yeasin Khan, Raihan Hasan and Rahmat Mia, was repeatedly exposed by Palestine, who duly punished the hosts by cashing in on their mistakes. With Palestine fielding a second-string side, snatching a point from title holders should not have been a tough task.
Left-back Rahmat Mia and goalkeeper Ashraful Islam Rana admitted that defensive errors was the main culprit behind their let-down against Palestine but they are now looking forward to their must-win final group match against Sri Lanka on Sunday rather than dwelling on the past.
“Actually, if you make mistakes against a good side, they will take advantage and we made two mistakes to concede two goals. That is the difference between big and small sides and our mistakes basically made the difference,” said Rahmat at the team hotel yesterday.
“Our backline is a lot better than before but we are human and can make mistakes and that happened yesterday [Wednesday],” continued Rahmat, who believes they gave away both goals.
Goalkeeper Rana was also quick to blame the backline.
“Actually our defensive organization was not good. Besides, the players were not as quick as they should be in in transition which is also a point to be noted,” said Rana.
Rahmat also said laid some of the blame on their forwards who, according to him, did not perform their duties well while the absence of the fever-hit Nabib Newaj Jibon was also felt.
“To be honest, we had problems in both boxes. First the defenders made mistakes, then the forwards could not capitalize the opportunities,” Rahmat said. “We felt the absence of Jibon bhai, who can hold the ball in the attacking third and can release ball for others. If he had been on the ground, then he or others could have taken the chances we created.”