In an International Friendly match in Goa, India will take on Bangladesh with the two teams meeting each other last in Nepal for the SAFF Cup where it ended in a 1-1 stalemate..India take on Bangladesh in a friendly encounter on Wednesday in Goa at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in Fatorda with both teams looking to get over the 1-1 stalemate that took place in the SAFF Championships which threw Bangladesh out of the competition from the group stages itself. India meanwhile progressed to the final, bowing down to Champions Afghanistan.
Team India are in decent form coming into the friendly, with a 2-0 win over Nepal and a well earned draw over Philippines.
Moreover with new kid on the block Balwant Singh going great guns in the I-League for Churchill Brothers earning him an India callup it seems that the answer to India's striking woes has finally been answered. This is in addition to Sunil Chhetri leading the charts for Bengaluru FC as he scores at will in the I-League.
Although defense is a worry for national coach, Wim Koevermans with Raju Gaikwad dropped, Sandesh Jhingan roped in as cover and also young full back Narayan Das who has impressed with Dempo getting a look in. However a genuine creative midfielder is still missing in the ranks with Lalkamal Bhowmick nursing an injury.
Wim was however feeling confident of his boys' chances in the upcoming match while not underestimating their opposition.
"We were looking to play a team after November and we are very happy that they are here. We played against them in the SAFF cup and it was a very exciting game, frustrating for them, because we equalized in the 93rdminute as this man (pointing to Sunil Chettri) scored a great free-kick. I expect tomorrow to be a huge competitive game, and we want to win."
He also hinted that some new boys might get a look in as he looks for more options to have a settled Indian team for competitions in the future.
"We have already seen a few players who are showing good form and quality but we have to rely on how many times they play. Sometimes I see he plays one week and I don’t see him for the next three weeks. So it’s not based on one game, it’s based on a couple of games, if they are showing good form then they might be called up."
Meanwhile Bangaldesh's last action was in the SAFF Championships where Pakistan got the better of them, sending them out of the tournament. They did play a friendly game against club side Dhaka Mohammedan on March 2nd which they lost 1-0.
However with the bulk of the selected team comprising players from the Bangladesh Premier League club, Sheikh Jamal (ten players from the club) they have enough experience of facing top Indian players. Sheikh Jamal were losing finalists in the recently concluded IFA Shield in Kolkata where they got the better of both Mohun Bagan and East Bengal before being defeated on penalties by Mohammedan Sporting.
Skipper Mamunul Islam who also captained the Sheikh Jamal side would be the lynchpin in the midfield as he would sit back and allow his attacking players to run amok. Zahid Ameli will be the man upfront with 11 goals from 52 matches to his name. If coach Lodewijk de Kruif decides to go two upfront, he may be supported by Mohammed Toklis.
Sohel Rana who also belongs to Sheikh Jamal will provide the attacking impetus and he would also look to get on the scoresheet.
De Kruif however wasn't intimidated by the higher ranked opposition and hoped for a win.
"I’m looking forward to the game. When you're playing your game you are professional, you always want to win. But let’s see in the game tomorrow, when we get our chances we have to take them and hope for a good result."
Fans will be looking for an exciting encounter when the two Tigers meet, the Bengal tigers taking on the Blue Tigers!