Favorites India will have to avoid complacency when they take on Bangladesh in the SAAF U-20 Championship final in Bhubaneswar on Friday. Bangladesh and India finished first and second respectively after their round-robin league engagements.
On the eve of the final at the Kalinga Stadium, India head coach Shanmugam Venkatesh recalled his three SAFF Championship triumphs as a player. Playing in a final is always a different feeling, it’s special. I myself have won three SAFF championships as a player and a captain, and also been to two SAFF finals as assistant coach of the senior national team,” said Venkatesh.
“We’ve all been telling our boys about the same experiences, and they’re all looking forward to the match.” While it will be a special occasion for the players, Venkatesh cautioned against complacency. “We have to make sure we don’t get overwhelmed. We need to go out there and play our game, and win the match,” Venkatesh said.
“Bangladesh are a good team, and they showed that in our first match. We struggled a bit in our first match, but we have found our footing and the boys are more confident now. Both teams have a With one player suspended, Bangladesh will be missing Shahidul Islam and India will enter the game without Parthib Gogoi.
Bangladesh head coach Paul Smalley said that he has watched all India’s matches and planned accordingly ahead of the final. They played a very different game against Maldives than we did.
We have looked at all their matches and how they change their game, and we have prepared accordingly,” said Smalley. “We understand very much how to expose their weaknesses, as much as they will be working on exposing our weaknesses. We wish them all the best for the game.”
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