Dhaka – Defending champions Palestine will play lowly Seychelles in the first semifinal of the six-team Bangabandhu International Gold Cup Football Tournament on Wednesday.
The match will kick-off at 5 pm at the Bangabandhu National Stadium here.
Hosts Bangladesh will play Burundi in the 2nd semifinal on Thursday at the same time and same venue.
Palestine emerged Group A champions with all-win record. The West Asian nation got off a flying start beating hosts Bangladesh by 2-0 goals in the first group match and continued their winning streak beating Sri Lanka also by 2-0 goals in the second group encounter.
Seychelles reached the semifinal as Group B runners-up riding on better goal difference. They conceded 1-3 goals defeat against Group B champions Burundi in their first group match while played a 2-2 draw against Mauritius in the second group match.
On the other hand, Mauritius conceded 1-4 goals defeat against Burundi in their first group match and played to a 2-2 draw with Seychelles in the last group match
On completion of the group affairs, both Seychelles and Mauritius secured one point each. But, Seychelles (goal difference -2) edged Mauritius (goal difference -3) by virtue of better goal difference to book a spot in the semifinal.
Ahead of the match, Palestine Head Coach Daboub Makram said that they have good records against their African opponents.
“We have played against African countries like Tanzania, Sudan, Libya, Morocco and we have good records against them,” Makram told a pre-match press conference at BFF house in Motijheel here on Tuesday.
About their preparation, the Palestine head coach said, “We have got a long-time-rest but sometimes the rest made both positive and negative impact. We are focusing on positive things. We have taken as usual preparations. We watch their [Seychelles] two group matches but we are focusing only on our team and to develop the skill of the players. We came here to win the trophy and we have confidence on our players.”
Seychelles Head Coach Ralph Jean Louis said, “We are happy to qualify for the semifinal but Seychelles have only one-day rest before the tough game while Palestine have much more rest. It’s difficult for the players as they got tired in the late stage of last game. We have to minimize the fatigues of the players.”
“Palestine is very good technically and tactically. We are aware of them. Hopefully it will be a competitive game,” Louis added.UNB