Vol. 4 Num 179 Sun. November 23, 2003  

Alfaz spares seniors' blushes

A double strike by ace forward Alfaz Ahmed yesterday gave the national team a hard-fought 2-1 win over the Bangladesh under-20s in the lone practice match ahead of their World Cup first-leg qualifier against Tajikistan at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium.

Bangladesh will face the Central Asian country on November 26 at the same venue. However the home leg is likely to clash with Eid-ul-Fitre.

Although the result of the practice match ended as expected, it hardly inspired coach Golam Sarwar Tipu before his charges play the big match against Tajikistan.

The national booters had rally from a goal down after Anwar put the under-20 ahead in the seventh minute. It took another 26 minutes before Alfaz found the net capitalizing on a defensive lapse. The experienced marksman slammed home the winner in the 66th minute from a goalmouth scramble.

The national team was lacking ideas and found very difficult to act as a cohesive unit having only trained together for a couple of days.

"How badly my players performs today shows the lack of training. You can't expect a combination without working at least ten days with the whole team," said a dejected Tipu.

"We will have to get the right result at home otherwise it will be very difficult in the second leg on November 30 because we will be playing minus ten degrees in Dushanbe," said the Bangladesh coach.

National defender Hasan-al-Mamun attributed poor training due to the Federation Cup, which concluded on November 20.

"We played five matches in space of nine days in the recently concluded Federation Cup that's why most of the players are tiered. Besides, some players are also carrying injuries. So, it is unfair to expect too much from us," said Hasan Al Mamun.

But most of the national players complained of poor planning on the part of the Bangladesh Football Federation since their glorious victory at the SAFF Championship in Dhaka in January.

"We had a tremendous preparation under Austrian Gorge Kottan for the SAFF Championship and we won the title because of that. But nine months have passed and look everything has changed. Actually nobody is serious to care for us these days," observed Mamun.

Midfield workhorse Arif Khan Joy also agreed with Mamun.

"You see not a single top BFF official came to see the match, so you can easily understand that how indifferent they are.