The injury-induced absence of Sandesh Jhingan may have hurt India’s defence but Bangladesh head coach Jamie Day on Friday said the Sunil Chhetri-led side would still start as overwhelming favourites in the upcoming World Cup qualifier in Kolkata.
Jhingan suffered an Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tear on his left knee during the national teams 1-1 draw during a friendly against NorthEast United on Wednesday and will have to undergo a surgery that may rule him out for at least six months.
Jhingan is the latest addition to the list of injured players in the Indian team which will also be without Rahul Bheke.
But the Bangaldesh coach remained realistic on his team’s chances. “I don’t see it any different from before that he’s injured. India are at home and expected to win,” Day said.
Bangladesh are placed 187 in FIFA table, compared to India’s rank of 104.
The visitors lost their last group encounter against Qatar 2-0 on Thursday.
India, on the other hand, held Qatar to a goalless draw in their away fixture last month and the former Ebbsfleet and Welling manager said the hosts have made rapid progress under Igor Stimac.
“I have seen the progress India has made in recent times. In fact, the team made great strides under an English coach before Igor Stimac took over. I haven’t met or spoken to Igor. But I am looking forward to meeting him soon.”
“I think coming over straight after the Qatar game gives us a few days to settle down, prepare, and help us for the game on the 15th,” he said looking ahead for the Tuesday’s clash at the Saltlake Stadium.
Bangladesh have assembled with a young squad and Day said, “The U-23 Bangladesh boys did exceptionally well in the Asian Games. We wanted to test and push them further.”
Under Day, Bangladesh have won seven of their 13 International matches since May 2018 and the Englishman hopes to build on the foundation. “I think we have become stronger as a team, and are much organised at the moment. All of that has made us a difficult team to beat. But we also intend to build on that, and make no mistake – we have now learnt how to win matches since I have taken over,” he asserted.