Sunday, 2 October, 2022

Fear, mental weakness sink us in SAFF final: Nova

Fear, mental weakness sink us in SAFF final: Nova

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Bangladesh’s dream of maiden SAFF U-20 title was shattered when they lost to the hosts India by 2-5 goals in the final of the recently-concluded 4th edition of this age-level competition on Friday.

Though the three-time runners-up showed an equal performance against their Indian counterparts in the stipulated 90-minute that resulted in a 2-2 tie, they conceded three goals within a span of just seven-minute in the first half of the extra time.

Forward Piash Ahmed Nova, who has experience of playing in the SAFF U-15 Championship in 2019 and he is also a member of the premier league champions Bashundhara Kings, talked with The Daily Sun on Sunday in an exclusive interview that fear and mental weakness were the main reasons behind their humiliating defeat to India.


Here are the excerpts:

The Daily Sun: What are the reasons you blame behind the big defeat in the final?

Nova: We hadn’t understood how we conceded three goals within seven minutes. They (India) were continuously putting pressure on us so that our goalkeeper Md Asif became mentally weak and began to fear. They were continuously attacking and Asif was continuously blocking them. At one point he broke down even our defenders became mentally weak when they conceded the first goal (in the extra time).

The Daily Sun: Have you talked with the coach or any other coaching staff at that time?

Nova: Everyone played well from the beginning, we never thought that everything would be changed within the last 15 minutes... a coach can’t do anything at that time. This team were very good. We had a bunch of experienced players. They came from the premier league and the championship league. Most of them were BKSP students and we all know that BKSP trained their students very well. I have some experience in international football because I played in SAFF U-15 Championship (in 2019). We believed that the team had the ability to do well, not like in other years. So we had great expectations from the beginning, but the ending was very pathetic.

The Daily Sun: Riding on your brace the team were able to beat India in the group stage. Why did you fail to score in the final? 

Nova: We beat India in the previous match (group match). So, we were confident enough in the final. We tried our best in the final. I tried my best, but their defenders blocked me everywhere and marked me very well and gave me no space inside and outside the box from the beginning. Though I tried my best, it didn’t really work. But I had an assist in the second goal.

The Daily Sun: What’s next?

Nova: I don’t know, got a 5-day break from the club. The club will decide my next assignment. I am going home now.