Sports, Football

Bangladesh, India battle for SAFF supremacy

Published : 07 Feb 2024 09:15 PM

Highflying Bangladesh Under-19 women will lock horns against India in their SAFF Under-19 Women’s football championship final at the Birshreshtha Shaheed Sepahi Mohammad Mustafa Kamal Stadium in Kamalapur on Thursday. Holders Bangladesh reached the final of the four-nation South Asian Football Federation Under-19 Women's Championship 2024 with an all-win record.

The hosts are riding high after winning all their group stage matches before reaching in the final and are banking on plotting another successful game plan against India to retain the title.   

Bangladesh coach Saiful Bari Titu said, his team is determined to retain the trophy, despite the breathtaking challenges awaiting for them. 

Titu, after the practice session on Wednesday at the match venue when talking to the reporters, said, “The first match against India was very close but finally we won the match.”

“We will have an advantage of playing at own environment, at home ground and most of the my players (nine players) had rest.”

“However, there would be some pressure in every final, you will have to handle that. Our players are experienced playing final matches.”

“Actually, there is nothing to motivate them, as they know about the recognition of champions.”        

“It's going to be a very challenging match for both teams and we have to be more concentrated, show more quality and cover more distance. With all that, I hope that we can reach our goal for the second time in a row.” 

“It will be tough as India will also try to perform at their optimal level, as it’s a title decider game. This match will be more difficult than the ones we had in the group stage. But we are placing plenty of emphasis on our preparation,” said the 54-year-old Titu. “Everyone in this competition is mentally prepared, and that's why we have to focus on improving the tactical aspects of our game. We need to make improvements when playing at this stage of the tournament and the tactical aspects should be well covered.

“There would be always pressure against strong teams but we need thorough preparation, both mentally and physically, to endure playing for 120 minutes.” 

We are fit, optimistic and eagerly looking forward to advancing all the way to win the final. 

“We know that tomorrow’s match will not be easy. All that we did until now is to win the final match,” Titu added.

“I told the players to forget the previous matches, what is important now is to beat India to win the final. We know they are a strong side, but we are defending champions and have spent a lot to improve the team.”

“Sometimes you have bad performances, sometimes you have good performances but we’ve only had good performances so far. Even against India in the group match, we didn’t concede a lot of chances,” Titu replied to a query.  “Of course we enter this match with big motivation and we are one step away from the title win. We have a chance to win second straight final, which is a big driving factor for us,” Titu replied to another query.