Tournament favorite Palestine take on Tajikistan in the final match of the prestigious Bangabandhu International Gold Cup Football tournament today (Friday) with both the team optimistic on winning the trophy.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is expected to remain present in the final as the chief guest and distribute the prizes. The match kicks off at 6.30 pm at the country’s premier venue Bangabandhu National Stadium.
State-owned Bangladesh Television (BTV) will telecast the match live while Bangladesh Betar will provide the live commentary.
Addressing at a pre-match press conference on Thursday at the conference room of Bangladesh Football Federation Bhaban, Tajikistan head coach Alisher Tukhtaev said they would take to the field tomorrow against Palestine to win the cup.
He said he is trying to prepare his team for the final as he is very much aware about the strength of his opponent Palestine.
“We lost the group match to Palestine by 2-0 but now we’ll not repeat the same mistake in the final and want to win the cup,” said the Tajikistan head coach.
Replying to a question, he said the team have minor injury problem but he hoped that it would be alright before tomorrow’s final.
History said Tajikistan has good memory back in 2006 in Dhaka where they emerged winners of AFC Challenge Cup.
When asked whether his side will repeat the same history tomorrow, the Tajikistan coach said he hoped to repeat the history but at the same time, he said as two strong teams will be competing in the final they must respect their opponents.
On the other hand, Palestine head coach Noureddine Ould Ali said it is not going to be an easy task for the players as they just played their semifinal match yesterday (Wednesday), but his boys are confident to play good brand of soccer against Tajikistan in the final.
He said his team have good speed with tactically and physically superior than Tajikistan and have been playing good football so far in the tournament.
However, he admitted that it would be very tough match.
Palestine defender Tamer Salah, who was present in the press conference, said they would go to the field as favorite and their aim is to win the tournament cup.
In the group phase matches, Palestine beat Tajikistan 2-0 in their group opening match and defeated defending champions Nepal by 1-0 to emerge as group A champions.
On the other hand, Tajikistan beat Nepal by 2-0 goals but lost to Palestine by 2-0 goals to finish group A runners-up.
This is the first time middle east country Palestine are taking part in the prestigious tournament with the tag of top ranking among the participating teams. Palestine is placed at 100th place in FIFA ranking while Tajikistan ranked at 120.
Before the ongoing tournament the two sides met in the friendly matches. The first match ended 1-1 draw held at Hebron on October 6 in 2016 while the return match also ended with 3-3 draw on November 5 in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.