Kriralok Desk: Tourists flock to the small male town of 7.6 sq km when they are pulled by the blue water of the sea. The capital city of the Maldives is now one of the major attraction of the tourists due to its sea and natural beauty. However, the footballers of Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and India who have come here to play in the SAF Championship do not have the opportunity to enjoy that beauty for the time being.
The 13th SAF Football Championship is starting today with the Bangladesh-Sri Lanka match in the sea town of Male. This is the first time Maldives has hosted the SAF Championship alone. They last hosted SAF Football jointly with Sri Lanka in 2006. They also won the trophy.
All the teams have come to Male with the aim of achieving SAF excellence. In the meantime, the hunger of Bangladesh seems to be a little more.The red-green team, which has exited the last four safe groups, has dramatically changed coaches just before the tour. Although Oscar Bruzon has just taken charge of the national team, Bangladesh hopes to play in the final with the help of this Spanish coach.
However, without a couple of isolated banners, there is no insanity in the city. Looking around the Maldives National Stadium, it doesn’t look like there is going to be any big event here. However, a middle-aged taxi driver, Ahmed Gani is on his way to the stadium and said that the Maldivian love for football is still intact. His idea about Bangladesh football was also seen well. Even the incident of changing the coach in a hurry isn’t unknown! Gani also wants to watch the 20-minute opening ceremony before the Maldives-Nepal match at 9 pm tonight.
The Bangladesh-Sri Lanka match will be over before that. Bangladesh is the favorite in this match which started at 5 pm. However, if we talk about the favorites of the tournament, it is India. The same thing was said at the press conference of the other four teams except India at the Maldives National Stadium yesterday afternoon. Sri Lankan coach Amir Alagikai put his team behind everyone! The 61-year-old Bosnian-Herzegovina gentleman seemed to surrender before the start of the tournament, saying, “We didn’t practice well. The preparation match was not played. Footballers are not professionals, they are all fancy. ‘
However, Sri Lanka became the champion in the 1995 SAF competition. The name of the tournament was then SAARC Gold Cup. Safe Sri Lanka’s record is not too bad. 13 wins, 6 draws and 17 losses in 36 matches. He has scored 49 goals with 47 goals. But that is a thing of the past, a new reality for the Sri Lankan coach, he wants to find the next team in this tournament, ‘We have a few young players. Hopefully, they will make themselves in this tournament. ‘Despite the preparation camp in Saudi Arabia, the Sri Lankan coach is keeping Bangladesh ahead in today’s match. But how can a team with one footballer play in India’s I-League and another in the clean Maldives’ Divehi League, become so weak? Who knows if it is a strategy of the Sri Lankan coach to keep the opponent in a foggy environment!
In the rankings, Bangladesh (189) is ahead of Sri Lanka (205) but in the last five matches, the two teams have won twice. There are two expatriate footballers in Bangladesh team and four in Sri Lanka. However, the Sri Lankan coach did not show much hope for the expatriates. “Dylan (expatriate footballer) joined the team yesterday (yesterday). Sometimes he was not even in practice. Whether it’s Messi or a great footballer, it’s hard to play well without practice. ‘
Meanwhile, midfielder Sohail Rana is suffering from mild fever after coming to Male. Today his game is uncertain. However, coach Oscar Bruzon is desperate to start the tournament with a win. “If we can start the tournament with a win, we will move forward by getting mentally prepared,” he said.
Bangladesh will take the field today in search of that victory in Male.