Patriotism is something I barely display. I complain about everything with my life in Bangladesh. I don’t like the weather, I don’t like the people, I don’t like their glaring stares when I walk to work, I don’t like the transport system, I don’t like the government, I don’t like hypocritical and sexist views of our society.
Everything changes when I am the one who represents my country, though. If you have represented your country in any international completions (sports or not), you know what it means. All the crap that defines our land fades from our mind and you just want to give your all and make your country proud. You want to establish yourself to others that THIS is what a Bangladeshi is capable of doing. We are small, unstable and “developing”, but put us on a stage to represent ourselves and you will know what “desh prem” (love for country) is. Today, hopefully our boys will bare that spirit.
It will take a miracle to pull through to the next stage but it isn’t impossible. It’s the same ground we played against India and our team seemed to have settled in after the debacle against Nepal. Pakistan on the other hand has an experienced squad. Even though coach Lodewijk de Kruif said he doesn’t believe in past statistics, we have not lost against Pakistan in the past 18 years. The seven encounters in last eight years we have won 3 and drew 5. Let’s hope the statistics gods are on our side tomorrow.
Our impressive display against India showed the possessive football the coach wants us to play. In the second half especially we kept the ball and was not misplacing the passes as often as we did against Nepal. Taklis was one of the best out there on the pitch and he explains that this really is a now or never moment for us and the team is beaming with motivation.
The common complain between both coaches of Bangladesh and Pakistan is the refereeing. It is far too obvious how fixed this tournament is. My colleague explains it nicely on our latest podcast, nobody will be a tad bit surprised if the match at Dasharath goes on to be 0-0.
At the end of the day, it’s one more match of football and it’s one more match for us to win. Whatever the outcome is, here’s to all 3 points and a handful of goals to make the gamble easier. Plus, I think we have a little rift with Pakistan from 40 something years ago? Come on lads!
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