If you thought football was off the agenda until after
tonight's opening AFC Challenge Cup
qualifier between the host nation Bangladesh and Cambodia, then think again. The 4 participating teams spoke at the official press conference yesterday amidst a heat wave that has gripped Bangladesh and the capital Dhaka in temperatures that topped 38.5C, as well as forcing acute electricity and water shortages on the city's inhabitants. The Brazilian coach of Bangladesh, Dido, has said that his team's best form of defense will be to attack Cambodia from the start of their evening match, after Myanmar face Macau in the opener earlier this afternoon. He said he knew nothing about the Cambodian team and had problems in attack as his two main strikers have been carrying injuries. Meanwhile, Cambodia's national coach Prak Sovannara said; "We are here to win against Bangladesh as well as against Myanmar and Macau and wins against all of them will take us to the finals if we don't squander the opportunities." He felt he was 70% confident of a win over the hosts and that the scorching heat would not affect his players. "I see no difference compared to our country and I don't think it will hamper our performance."
As for Macau and Myanmar, they begin the qualifying tournament in the mid-afternoon heat and that will be a tough ask in anyone's book. Macau are the underdogs of the competition but have been together for a year and a half according to their coach, so aren't afraid of anyone. Myanmar have brought a young team to the qualifiers, comprising of under-23 players as their coach searches for the next generation of senior players. All of the games will be shown live on Bangladesh television and will be played at the 36,ooo-capacity Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka.
Labels: AFC Cup, Cambodia football, Prak Sovannara