Bangladesh's 5-0 drubbing at the hands of Thailand in their FIFA International Friendly on Saturday might have been a disappointing result, but this served the purpose of playing such friendlies, which is to judge the standard of the national team and find out the areas to work on for improving.
The margin of defeat might have been even bigger had Thailand not made as many as 10 substitutions, but nonetheless the result and the performance helped the team management and officials identify the weak points of the side. The BFF president himself witnessed the match and was quick to point out some of the loopholes. The defeat will certainly give the game's governing body material to think deeply about the improvement of the national team, which hardly gets any chance of playing international fixtures except for the matches of the SAFF Championship, a regional football meet, AFC Challenge Cup, a third-tier Asian football meet, and the Qualifiers of FIFA World Cup, Olympics and Asian Games. The defeat against Thailand should be an eye-opener for the football officials, who concentrate on the immediate results rather than long term goal.
Once upon a time a decade or two ago, Bangladesh used to fight hard against these opponents. However, countries like Thailand have gone from strength to strength in the intervening period as a second-tier powerhouse in Asia as professionalism was installed while Bangladesh still remain in the third-tier football due to irregular football activities for most of the time till late.
Bangladesh have suffered even more humiliating defeats against sides Korea, Japan, Saudi Arabia and Iran in the past, which only shows the gulf of difference. However one feels there is no shame in losing these friendlies, even if losing badly, because it will only help the players to get matured and strengthen them mentally.
India could be used a classic example in this case. Once belonging at our standard not too long ago, the neighboring country took their status to enormous heights in the last decade through playing against their superior sides. Initial results were not encouraging, but they stuck to their long term plans and are now reaping the rewards as they compete in earnest against teams like Kuwait, Qatar, Syria, Jordan, Uzbekistan.
However, playing the FIFA friendly is a new concept for the national team and the game's governing body should continue to arrange such games whether the squad win or lose and playing such international friendly will certainly encourage the new generation to be footballers.
Bangladesh will play another FIFA friendly against Malaysia on Tuesday in Kuala Lumpur and may suffer another heavy defeat, yet the football loving people will be hoping that long term goals are implemented so that these defeats will be a thing of the past in future.