[Raihan Mahmood] All the three visiting football teams of the AFC Challenge Cup group A qualifiers expressed the confidence that they would win the group, at the official press meet on Saturday. Surprisingly, all of them downplayed the difficulties of playing in the searing heat and said that they are accustomed to it.
Myanmar, which is the top ranked team of the meet with a FIFA world ranking of 159, believe their youngsters will see the team through.
Tim Myint Aung, the head coach of Myanmar, hoped his new generation of players will produce the best and finish at the top. ‘My team is the U-23 team; all the players know what their target is and they are well prepared to attain it. Myanmar are here to win the championship,’ said Aung.
‘If you ask me why I have brought the U-23 players, the answer is to reap the fruit in the future; our goal is to excel in the upcoming SEA Games and the qualification in the final round of the AFC Challenge Cup will be the ideal stage,’ said Aung.
Skipper Myo Min Tun expressed optimism about his young guns. ‘We are playing together for a long time and the team is well prepared for the hard challenges ahead; Bangladesh and Myanmar have a good rivalry and we hope to prevail,’ said Tun.
Cambodia, currently ranked 175th in the FIFA rankings, visited Bangladesh back in 2006 and the team knows the Bangladesh condition well. They have trained hard at home and arrived in Dhaka after a one-week conditioning camp in Hong Kong.
Cambodian head coach Prak Sovannara expressed satisfaction with his preparations. ‘I don’t see any problems in playing in these condition, I have set my eyes to win the group and my team is in good shape to achieve the target;
I need a winning start against Bangladesh tomorrow,’ said Sovannara.
Sovannara also said he is tuning up a new team for the future and they are raring to go. ‘The team of 2006 and this one is not the same, it has gone through major changes, we have injected young blood in the national team,’ he said.
Skipper Kim Chanbunrith emphasised on team spirit. ‘My players look forward to defeating Bangladesh in the opener, I have belief in my team,’ said Chanbunrith.
Macau, the lowest ranked team of the group with a ranking of 195, look forward to achieving their target of winning the qualifiers of AFC Challenge Cup.
Leong Sui Wing, the head of coach Macau saw the winning spirit in his team in the victory against Mongolia in the play-off. ‘I want to start from the play-offs when we qualified for the group phases. My target is simple – I want to continue the winning streak and qualify for the final round,’ said Wing.
‘We practised today and everything seems okay; we are not bothered about the heat, my team is well prepared to face the challenges,’ said the coach. Skipper Geofredo De Sousa emphasised on the competitive edge of the group. ‘I think all the four teams are almost of the same level, we have to produce better football on the field to win,’ said De Sousa.