Host Bangladesh will play their opening match against Bhutan today 7:00pm in Dhaka time. It will be the second match of the competition as Pakistan plays Nepal earlier today.
Bangladesh, which was placed in Group A of the biggest soccer festival of the region (SAFF Championship) with Bhutan, Nepal and Pakistan.
The BFF announced the Bangladesh squad making one change in Jamie Day’s 20-member team to comply with the SAFF rules including 3rd goal keeper Anisur Rahman in the team dropping Rabiul Hasan in the dying moment. Plus, Nine players were excluded from the previous squad.
Bangladesh captain was not revealed at the press conference as their Head Coach Jamie Day said, every players of the Bangladesh team is our captain, and they may choose different captain for the different matches.
Bangladesh Defender Nasiruddin Chowdhury said they want to repeat 2003 glory and rewrite the history again.
Bhutan and their coach Trevor Morgan will enter the competition with a young squad listing only six players from the previous tournament. There are 17 new players in the squad who are eager to show their prowess.
Goalkeeper Hari Gurung, who plays for Transport United in domestic leagues, and Jigme Tshering Dorji of Thimphu City were dropped from the SAFF squad.
Bhutan Captain Karma Shedrup Tshering said that they respect Bangladesh but are not afraid, the team has taken the required preparation for the SAFF Championships and will be fighting till the end.
WHAT MANAGER SAYS:
Bhutan Coach Trevor Morgan said, As the hosts Bangladesh are the favorites in the opener but Bhutan will be relying on the firepower of their young guns, they are raring to go, Bhutan have gone through hard working sessions focusing upon playing better football. He also added that they want to change the perception of what people think and they will be taking the field to win and they eye a semifinal slot.
Bangladesh Head Coach Jamie Day said, For the last four months they have been focusing upon the tournament and toured Qatar, Korea and Indonesia, the boys are fully prepared for the challenges, and they want to top play a good brand of football, As the hosts and people have expectations upon the team but they are not taking any pressure, and they want to play our best football against Bhutan in the opener.
HEAD TO HEAD
Bhutan played the first SAFF championship in 2003 and recorded the best record in 2008 when they reached semi-final. The two will play each other after two years.
Bhutan defeated Bangladesh 3-1 to progress to the group stage round of AFC Asian Cup qualifiers in 2016 and Bangladesh beats Bhutan 3-0 in 2015 SAFF Championship in India.
Bangladesh has won one drew one and lost one against Bhutan in all competitions till date.
Neither Bangladesh nor Bhutan has recorded a win in the last seven matches in all competitions.