Bangladesh have set the final pieces, finalizing Oscar Bruzon as coach, in preparation for the SAFF Championship 2021. The Bengal Tigers will be staking their claim for a second title this year in Maldives.
Bruzon is not an unfamiliar name in South Asian football. The Spaniard takes over after Jamie Day with the assignment to overcome the other four challengers.
He already has set challenges he must overcome. Starting off, the main obstacle will be to end Bangladesh’s seven-match losing streak beginning with a goalless stalemate against Nepal in November 2020.
Sine then, the Tigers have lost three of their final four World Cup qualifiers. They could not find the winning edge in recent friendlies against Kyrgyzstan and Palestine as well.
The Bangladesh SAFF Championship 2021 squad
Bruzon will have a slight advantage though. Given his time with the Bashundhara Kings, he is fairly familiar with a handful of the squad.
The Spaniard reunites with Anisur Rahman, Basundhara Kings’ goalkeeper. Rahman has put up stunning displays and has booked a starting spot in the national team. The keeper’s penalty-saving abilities are truly outstanding.
Veterans to the campaign Ashraful Islam Rana and Sahidul Alam form the back up. Rana, 33, is a dependable shot-stopper and a leading character. Alam debuted in 2011 and is no stranger to the tournament.
The Bangladesh backline is made up of players from youngsters to doyens. A large part of the players in the 23-man squad are in their 20s and have been featured regularly. Topu Barman and Tutul Hossain Badsha will likely form a first choice center-back partnership. Barman had an excellent season with Basundhara Kings. Hossain too comes off a crucial spell with Dhaka Abahani.
Additionally, Tariq Kazi and Bishwanath Ghosh will be supporting the two. Kazi made his debut in the latest World Cup Qualifiers and has been an imposing performer. Kazi’s pairing with Ghosh might prove to be crucial for ball movement through the channels. Bruzon will have Riyadul Hasan, Rahmat Mia, Mehedi Hasan and Mohammad Atikuzzaman on the bench.
So far, with Basundhara, Bruzon will likely go with a three-man midfield. Presuming, Sohel Rana, Atiqur Rahman Fahad and Jamal Bhuyan will make up the trio. Bhuyan brings brilliant progression and possession skills, one of the finest in South Asia. Bhuyan will be a key link as the armband wearer.
Atiqur Rahman Fahad is another contender. He too can progress and retain possession in the middle. Sohel Rana might have a bit of a defensive approach but is a solid option. His forte, holding and disbanding opposition attacks, will be crucial to the set-up.
Now to Bangladesh’s attack. Nigerian forward Eleta Kingsley’s inclusion and eligibility has raised some eyebrows. Assuming he is given the green light from AFC, Kingsley can be the focal point upfront. Likewise, Matin Miah, Biplo Ahamed, Mahbubur Rahman, Jewel Rana, Mohammad Ibrahim and Suman Reza are the other forwards included.
A three-man attack could feature Mahbubur Rahman. Rahman scored a single a goal and registered only one assist recently. However, the attacker has created a host of chances going forward and Bruzon certainly had his eye on him at Basundhara.
Another possible forward-line could be Rakib Hossain on the left-wing. Pacey and with fast footwork, Hossain pairing with Kingsley would be deadly for Bangladesh. Matin Miah and Suman Reza would provide goals up top.
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