Know Your Rivals: Bangladesh National football team

As India are all set to take on neighbours Bangladesh in an International Friendly on Wednesday, Goal brings you the need to know stuff about the Bengal Tigers...
Quick Facts

COUNTRY NAME: Bangladesh

ADMINISTRATIVE BODY: Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF)


NICKNAME: Bengal Tigers

Last Official Match Played: Pakistan 2-1 Bangladesh (5th September 2013)

Head Coach: Lodewijk De Kruif 

Most Recent Meeting: SAFF Championships 2013: India 1-1 Bangladesh (3rd September, 2013)


History And Team Highlights

The Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) was formed in 1972, after the country won its independence in 1971. It got affiliated to the AFC and FIFA in 1973 and 1976 respectively, and played its first ever international game against Thailand on 26th July 1973, a game which ended in a 2-2 draw in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This was the venue for all of their first 13 games where they failed to win a single game and lost ten.

The Bengal Tigers did not win their first game until the time they defeated Afghanistan 4-1 in 1979, in the Asian Cup qualifiers, a tournament through which they created history, by becoming only the second South Asian side after India, to appear in the Asian Cup, in its 1980 edition. At the Asian Cup, they failed to win a single game and conceded 17 goals in the process.

Having never come close to qualifying for a World Cup, this was their best moment in International football, as they haven’t come close to repeating this feat ever since.

They have made two appearances in the AFC Challenge Cup, with their best performance being in the inaugural edition, which they had hosted, where they managed to reach the quarter-finals.

When it comes to the SAFF Championships,  after India, the Bengal Tigers have probably been one of the more consistent sides in the competition. In nine appearances in the competition since making their debut, they have entered the knock-out stages on five occasions, and contested three finals on the trot from 1999 to 2005, winning at home in 2003, their only triumph in the competition, and losing the other two to India.

The Blue Tigers have been the bogey team for the Bangladeshis, as the other two times when they reached the semis; it was India that sent them packing in the competition.

Off late 2011 and 2013 were their worst showings in the competition, as the team lost two games in the group stages both times, and ended up rock bottom both times with only a solitary point in both iterations. 

Squad against India 

Goalkeepers: Biplab Bhattacharya, Shahidul Alam, Mazaharul Islam

Defenders: Raihan Hasan, Mohammed Linkon, Tapu Barman, Nasiruddin Chowdhury (Vice Captain), Didarul Hoqe, Yeasin Khan, Atiqur Rahman Mishu, Yeamin Munna

Midfielders: Jamal Bhuiyan, Mamunul Islam (C), Sohel Rana, Toklis Ahmed, Touhidul Alam, Hemanto Kumar Vincent, Mithun Chowdhury

Forwards: Aminur Rahman Sazib, Zahid Hasan Ameli, Rubel Miah 

Players To Watch Out For

Mamunul Islam – The national team skipper, who is also the skipper of Sheikh Jamal club who are topping the Bangladesh Premier League as also were surprise contenders in the recently concluded IFA Shield where they beat giants East Bengal and Mohun Bagan, will be the key player for the side as they look to beat India. The 25 year old midfielder will have to lead from the front and will take confidence from the wins against two of India's biggest clubs.

Sohel Rana – Another one of the Sheikh Jamal contingent, in fact one of the 10 Sheikh Jamal players selected by head coach, Kruif to represent the Bengal Tigers against India, he was in fine form in the IFA Shield where his team narrowly lost out in the final on penalties. With an eye for a killer pass Rana has to sizzle should Bangladesh want to win.

Zahid Hasan Emily – Bangladesh’s go-to man upfront, the striker has scored 11 goals in 52 games for the national team. While not a great record for a player who is supposed to be the country’s main man in attack, there are few options available to Kruif with both Aminur and Rubel having less than 10 caps for their country.

Star Speak

Mamunul: ‘We beat two favourite teams in the IFA Shield and it gave us a lot of confidence. Including me there are 10 players from Sheikh Jamal who are representing Bangladesh so it will help us to face India.'

Sohel: ‘We played well in the IFA Shield which means we are capable of fighting hard against India in their own soil. Not only that, they struggled to draw with us in the SAFF Championship. So I think we will perform better against them.'

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