Isa Town: Bangladesh U23 national team is prepared to give it their all to get something out of their second group match against Palestine on Sunday.
On Saturday, however, the players spent a relaxed day to clear their head and be mentally prepared for the challenge posed by a strong Palestine side. The Bangladesh team did not have any training session apart from a gym and pool session at 11:00am local time. A class with all the players was conducted at 4:00pm for video analysis and match related discussion.
Having narrowly lost the first match against Bahrain, the Red and Greens have to get at least a point to keep their hopes of getting through the qualifying round of AFC U23 Championship 2020 Thailand.
However, both head coach Jamie Day and his men are well-aware of what lies ahead of them.
Palestine have rocketed off the start line by crushing Sri Lanka 9-0 in their first match and are beaming with confidence.
Jamie Day, however, is not fazed by the stature of their opponents. Rather, he is focused on getting his team to perform to their level best on Saturday evening at the Khalifa Sports City Stadium when they square off against the Palestinians.
Giving a brief about his team’s plans for tomorrow’s match, Jamie said, “We need to get something from the match after losing yesterday (Friday). It’s going to be similar to what we’ve done before. We want to obviously start the game well.”
“We want to be compact to give ourselves a chance of getting something out of the match. And hopefully we can capitalize on the mistakes they make.”
It is a fact that the Palestinians are the best side in the group, at least on papers, given their ranking (100) is the best among all four teams whereas Bangladesh is languishing at 192. In addition, seeing Palestine go all-guns-blazing against Sri Lanka, Jamie was asked whether his team will again go into the match with a 5-man backline. To that, Jamie said, “It’s something we’ll look at. We’ll have a discussion tonight (Saturday) and decide which is the best formation to play tomorrow.”
Speaking about his expectations from the game, the Briton said, “As I’ve said before, Palestine and Bahrain are best teams in the group. So, the match against Palestine will be another tough one. But we’re up for the challenge. We’ll give it our best to hopefully get something out of the game.”
Meanwhile, goalkeeping coach Dean May singled out lack of understanding and implementation of match related training for the errors made by local Bangladeshi goalkeepers.
Speaking specifically about his disciples, May said, “The biggest issue with the Bangladeshi keepers is a lack of understanding and implementation of match related training. So, we’ve been working on making training as close to the match situation as possible and encouraging them to make the decisions unlike before where there was too much coaching on how they should do things in a certain way and why.”
“We have been trying to promote freedom and encourage the players to decide for themselves in a particular scenario so that they can learn from their own mistakes and improve autonomously.”
Praising goalkeeper Anisur Rahman Zico for his performance against Bahrain, May pointed out that he is in the leaning phase.
“Last night’s (Friday) performance of Zico was good. He kept the team in the game with some of his saves. He has been trying to implement some of the match related training in the game. However, he needs more time.”
Talking about the overall fitness of Bangladeshi players, newly recruited physiotherapist Simon Maltby said, “There’s some difference between some players and the others. Some players are used to going into the gym and doing strength work whereas some of them are not.”
“So, we’ll have to get used to that even though it’s a bit difficult while going into a tournament. But their attitude is first class, very good.”
Underlining the importance conditioning work and strength training, Simon said, “Strength and conditioning is first and foremost really. We need to educate the players on how to recover too so that they know how to maintain their own fitness.”
Head coach Jamie and his colleagues are hard at work to get the best out of the players. It is now left to be seen whether all that work pays some dividends against Palestine tomorrow or not.
The Bangladesh-Palestine match will kick-off at the Khalifa Sports City Stadium in Isa Town, Bahrain at 7:00pm Bangladesh time on Sunday, March 24, 2019.
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