A day after Bangladesh cricket team suffered an embarrassing defeat to Afghanistan, men’s football team is now lining up to test their mettle against the South Asian neighbours when they face the team in their FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifiers opening match in Dushanbe, Tajikistan today.
The match, which is also part of Asian Cup 2023 qualifiers, will kick-off at 8:00pm Bangladesh Standard Time and Bangla TV will live telecast the match.
Ranked 149th by FIFA, 34 places ahead of Bangladesh, Afghanistan will go in the match as favourites despite their 0-6 mauling at the hands of other Group E rivals Qatar in the opening match of their campaign.
Bangladesh, however, will take confidence from the head-to-head record, where both teams are place in level term, each country having won one game against four draws in six meetings.
‘We know each other. We are very prepared,’ said Bangladesh coach Jamie Day ahead of the contest on Monday.
‘We know they are strong team. We need to play our best to get some points…we are looking forward to the game, to play well and, you know, we can beat Afghanistan in the game.’
Bangladesh captain Jamal Bhuiyan believed that the game against Afghanistan will be very difficult and also will be different than the two practice matches that they played in their 10-day camp in Dushanbe.
‘Afghanistan are very strong with the ball and we have to take care of that. We don’t think about practice matches much. We have already moved on. Let’s see what happens tomorrow [Tuesday],’ said Jamal.
Afghanistan will be looking to regroup themselves after Qatar loss in Doha on September 5.
‘We are ready to play our second game. It will be different game against Bangladesh than Qatar. As Bangladesh are very good team they have new coaches…No one can say who is favourite for tomorrow’s match, only we are having advantage of physically and tactically than Bangladesh,’ said Afghanistan coach Anous Dastgir.
Afghanistan captain Farshad Noor also expected a different game against Bangladesh than Qatar.
‘Against Bangladesh it will be a different game than Qatar. We know Bangladesh. They prepared very well. It’s a game we have to win. We are prepared to win this game,’ he said.
Bangladesh’s only win came against Afghanistan came in the qualification tournament for the AFC Asian Cup in 1980.
India and Oman are the other two teams of the World 2022 qualification round.
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