Read the transcript of head coach Lodewijk de Kruif’s post-match press conference following Bangladesh’s 2-1 loss to Pakistan. With just one point from the three group stage matches, Bangladesh are eliminated from the SAFF Championship.
Coach, we played 3 games here. Do you think we are up to the mark? Have our players satisfied you?
LDK: No, absolutely not satisfied. Nobody is. But we analyze this game and we had a chance after a minute. When you score a chance like that which was an easy one, 3 meters before the goal line, then I would have expected another game, because it would have given us a fantastic boost to make it a walkover. But we missed it. That was unfortunate. I think the first half, a lot of moments we played good football, good position play, one two touches, everybody was busy and Pakistan could only do something from the counter where they are very matured, they are very good at it. Then second half we still had a few chances over there, very simple chances. But I have to admit few players were not in the game today. Most of them were in it, 70 or 80 percent. But a few were absolutely terrible and it will have consequences because we trained them up, we talked with them, we gave them a chance and they did not take it. For me there is a rule: you can play football AND you can play a very unlucky game. Everybody has bad days. But even on a bad day you can always give 100% for the team, for the country. With a few of them I have my doubts. I won’t name names. You saw the game you figure it out. It will have consequences, because I cannot work with those players. I want to work with players who want to work for their country, who want to adapt to the materials we give them and the information we give them. So we will re-select. We have a few games in the coming months. 3 games, 1 point – disappointing. Although it was a group of death, we had chances. We didn’t take our chances. The game against Nepal, we weren’t ready. The game against India, we had 12-13 people playing against us. This was football of the highest level. We had 5 or 6 chances. You convert your chances, otherwise you’re in trouble.
Can you summarize our tournament?
LDK: For me it was a disappointing tournament, when you see the result we played 3 games with 1 point. We as coaches saw many good things and also bad things. We have to learn from the bad things and the mistakes and we will re-select because a few players were not ready or good enough or didn’t have the qualities especially in the mental way. We will finish them and find other players in the country.
You think Pakistan deserved the win?
LDK: I don’t think so. It’s a team who plays on the counter, I don’t like that. But we had to force something at the last moment where we gave away a lot of space. They took the space, they took advantage of it and scored a silly goal. I think the first one was also a silly one. I think in Bangladesh we have a big problem with defense organization and also the mentality and discipline that comes with organization. When you are a defender, I will advise you to buy a few DVDs on how they defend in Italy. All the people behind there are butchers. You cannot score a goal or you get injured. That is the way. It’s professional football. They have a lot to learn and we have to teach them.
What about Wahed?
LDK: Wahed is a young guy who wants to work very hard. Today he worked very hard but he was unlucky.
LDK: Zahid… we gave him a chance and everybody saw what happened.
Who were our best players?
LDK: Best players we had a few who played very well, Meshu did very well. Raihan was very good. Long throw in, special quality of him. Jamal played fantastic. Babu, Sohel , Raihan, Taklish…2 of them are 18, 2 of them are 19. It’s fantastic to see them fight for the team, fight for their country. That is what we like. They have also of course qualities, technical. That is the future of Bangladesh.
You think our youth academy is a major problem?
LDK: Developing, making progress begins in the youth. Salahuddin brought in Rene Koster as a head youth developer. He is very good in his job. But you have to start somewhere. At this moment, there is no organization; there is no structure at all. When we are back in Bangladesh,U16 and U19 tournaments are coming. That is the focus. It should be very interesting. I think always you have to have a very good education plan and programs like football schools they call it in my country. You need time for it. It’s a process. It will take time. Six or seven years. Then you will produce top grade footballers.
You asked the players to focus on winning and not the other game (Nepal vs India). When Nepal were 2-0 up the crowd cheered them on, why couldn’t we push in the last 15 minutes to get that final goal?
LDK: I think it was clear to everybody there was a chance. I think it was very difficult question to put your finger on it. They fought too hard, there wasn;t enough energy anymore. Missing several chances maybe had an effect on their mentality. But the result is we lost 2-1 and we are not going to the semifinals.
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