Past results inspire Bangladesh skipper to fight for win against favourite India

Bangladesh lost both its FIFA World Cup qualifiers and is currently last on the points table in Group E. It faces India next in Kolkata on Tuesday.

Bangladesh skipper Jamal Bhuyan vying for the ball against Qatar in the World Cup qualifier.   -  AFP

Bangladesh national team captain Jamal Bhuyan sounded out that his team is prepared to give a tough fight to host India when the two meet here in a FIFA World Cup Group E qualifying match at the Salt Lake Stadium on Tuesday. This set the stage for an absorbing contest as the two neighbouring nations renew their rivalry on the football field after a gap of more than five years.

The Bangladesh team, which lost 0-2 against Qatar at home on Thursday, is currently placed at the bottom of the group E table losing both its matches so far. India, having held Qatar to a goalless draw at the latter’s home in the previous outing, is just a rung above with a point from two matches.

“We know India is playing at home ground and they will give 100 per cent for a win. We are also looking to give our best and it will be a tough match. If we look at the previous two results, Bangladesh has not lost to India (playing 1-1 and 2-2 draws) and that will inspire us fight for a win,” Bhuyan, who is a Denmark-born Bangladeshi midfielder, told the media after arrival.

“India has developed in the last few years investing a lot of money in the (Indian) Super League. So it will be a tough match for my team. In terms of percentage, I would say India is currently ahead at 55 and Bangladesh at 45 but we will take our chances to get the result in our favour,” he said.

“Bangladesh has a few players playing in Europe and best one of them is Hamza Choudhury, who is with Leicester City (currently on loan to League One club Burton Albion). I am sure if he does not play for England then he will come and play for Bangladesh,” Bhuyan, who started his professional career in Denmark before moving to the Bangladesh Premier League club Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi, said.

“As we are neighbouring countries and speak the same language, there will be some people cheering for us. We will try to use that and make a match out of it,” said Mamunul Islam, the midfielder who spent a season with the ISL’s Kolkata franchise ATK but without making any appearance for it.

“I have been turning out for Bangladesh for a few years now and have also seen Indian football from close. I will surely try to make my experience count,” Mamunul, who currently plays for Dhaka Abahani FC, said.

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