George Kottan, the SAFF Championship winning coach of Bangladesh football team, passed away in Budapest on Monday. He was 76.
Having undergone a recovery session on Wednesday, Bangladesh national team returned to a full-fledged training session at the practice ground of the Bashundhara Sports Complex ahead of two FIFA friendlies against Afghanistan.
The 33-year-old captain, who has worked under different foreign and local coaches and seen the ups and downs of the team, spoke elaborately regarding the difference from the previous campaigns to the recent one and what he feels should be the ideology for the team going forward. Excerpts of the interview, taken by The Daily Star’s Anisur Rahman, are as follows.
India re-evaluated themselves against skilled Asian teams, having repelled Lebanon in similar fashion in the semi-finals, but what will the rest of the South Asian participating nations take away from the tournament? From here on, how do they gauge their standards relative to India’s ever-accelerating progress?
Following an outstanding campaign in the SAFF Championship, Bangladesh’s Anisur Rahman Zico was named the goalkeeper of the tournament.
The Spaniard, who led Bangladesh to a first semifinal in the regional event for the first time in 14 years only to lose the last-four battle against Kuwait in extra time, said he was disappointed of the end result but proud of the performance from the charges.
Tariq, who picked up a shin injury soon after giving Bangladesh a lead against Maldives on June 25, went through four days of rest before Friday's training session.
Bangladesh have already achieved their SAFF Championship objective -- reaching the semifinal this edition. But following inspirational performances in the final two group games, against Maldives and Bhutan, Jamal Bhuiyan and Co. are now aiming to go even further as they take on Kuwait, arguably the toughest team in the tournament, in Saturday’s first semifinal at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru.