Bangladesh national team coach Andrew Ord said on Thursday that he was impressed with the overall performance of the Under-19 team in the just-concluded AFC Under-19 Championship Qualifiers in Tajikistan.
The Under-19 boys finished third in the five-team group behind Asian powerhouses Uzbekistan and hosts Tajikistan.
In the qualifiers, Bangladesh defeated the Maldives and Sri Lanka, drew with hosts Tajikistan and suffered a narrow 0-1 defeat against Uzbekistan.
Before that, Bangladesh became runners-up in the SAFF Under-18 Championship in Bhutan by playing some quality football throughout the tournament.
Ord, who accompanied the team during both competitions as an advisory coach, claimed that he was mostly impressed with the mental toughness of the Under-19 boys.
‘Regarding the overall performance of the players, I am very pleased,’ said the Anglo-Australian coach.
‘Tactically they have responded well and as each game went by, the mentality got stronger which had clearly been a problem at senior level in the past.’
Ord was also impressed with the physical strength of the side.
‘Physically this group was much fitter than the Under-23 team, who were in a very bad physical condition,’ said Ord, said the national, referring to Under-23 poor show in Palestine during a similar AFC competition.
Despite the positive result at Under-19 level, Bangladesh players are far behind than other Asian tams like Tajikistan and Uzbekistan technically.
‘Technically we are still behind the stronger countries [Tajikistan, Uzbekistan] and need to improve in this area,’ he said.
‘I have been here for more than five months now and had time to assess the national Under-23, Under-19 and Under-16 teams in detail.
‘I have also watched many Bangladesh Premier League and some Bangladesh Championship League games. It is quite clear that goal scoring is a huge problem.’
‘It is a specialised area and need to be worked in small groups with an expert. At all levels the players are not making intelligent runs, the movements are not timed properly.’
Ord said that the players, especially the forwards, need to improve a lot in the attacking third.
‘Lack of decision making and technique inside the box regularly let us down,’ he said.
‘It is an area we can improve a lot and I will be discussing further about it with the technical director and president when I return.’
Ord also refused to single out any player as potential candidate for senior team.
‘It depends what the target of senior team is,’ he said.
‘If they want to develop a team for the next two or three years then, yes we can include a few of these players.
‘But if they want to win the friendly games in the next FIFA window then it’s too soon for them.
’Nothing has been officially decided yet,’ he said.
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