Hosts Bangladesh will face upper-ranked Burundi in the tough 2nd semifinal of the six-team Bangabandhu International Gold Cup on Thursday eyeing a win.
The match will kick off at 5pm at the Bangabandhu National Stadium here.
The hosts reached the semifinals as the Group A runners-up with one win and one defeat. They started their campaign conceding 0-2 goals defeat against tournament’s top seed Palestine but bounced back crushing Sri Lanka by 3-0 goals in the last group match.
Group B champions Burundi routed Mauritius by 4-1 goals in the first game and thrashed Seychelles by 3-1 goals in their second and last group match.
Title contenders Burundi netted seven goals and conceded just two while Bangladesh scored three goals and conceded two in their group stage.
Burundi forward Nshimirimana Jospin is at the summit of the scorer list of the ongoing meet. Jospin scored four goals with a hat-trick in the group matches.
Among other Burundi scorers, captain-cum-forward Tambwe Amissi scored two and defender Ndikumana Asman scored one. On the other hand, forward Motin Miah netted twice while another forward Mohammad Ibrahim scored one for Bangladesh.
Ahead of the match, Bangladesh Head Coach Jamie Day on Wednesday said they are full of confidence and able to beat the East African side.
“We played very well in the last match against Sri Lanka. We scored goals and kept the clean sheet. The match against Burundi is going to be a tough one. They [Burundi] have a good attacking side and their players are physically strong, but we’re going to the game with full of confidence. If you play well and perform in a disciplined and organised way, then you have a good chance to win,” Jamie said in a pre-match press conference at Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) in Motijheel .
“Our first target is to post a win tomorrow (Thursday). We’ve to defend and utilise chances to score goals. The match may be harder for defenders. Our players have to give their best. To win the tournament will be the fantastic achievement for us. So, we’ll do our best,” Jamie added.
About their preparations for the crucial match, Jamie said, “Boys trained very well in the last two or three days. Tomorrow’s match will be a good challenge for our defenders. They need to be organised and strong against Burundi. Burundi have a strong attacking side, they’ve scored seven goals in two games. Though the game will be tough for our defenders, there is no extra pressure on them.”
The men in red and green got a blow as their reliable defenders Topu Barman will miss the match due to conceding a red card in the last match against Sri Lanka.
Ahead of the match, booters made a practice session at Lt Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club ground here on Wednesday morning. Bangladesh Captain Jamal Bhuiyan joined the team and took part in the training.
About Jamal’s return to the squad, Jamie said, “We’ll make one or two changes in the last playing eleven. Jamal is one of the best players in the team. If he is fit, he will play tomorrow.”
Jamal Bhuiyan said, “As Jamie told that we’re very confident after the match against Sri Lanka, but the next match is totally different. Burundi have a strong striking side. We have to be focused; we have to be concentrated because of these guys [Burundi] are not like Sri Lanka. It’s going to be a tough match. Hopefully, we’ll win tomorrow.”
Bangladesh are 187th in FIFA rankings while Burundi are 151th.
About their preparations against the home team, Burundi Head Coach Bipfubusa Joslin said, “I know Bangladesh are good. It’ll be a good game. It’s not the first time that we’re playing against the home team. I believe in goals. My philosophy is in the attacking. It’s football, a game of attack. I’m confident about the win.”
“We’re going to change our formation against Bangladesh. I don't depend on two players, all the 11 players are equally important in the game,” Joslin added.
Burundi Captain Tambwe Amissi said, “It's not going to be an easy game. Bangladesh play well.”