A buoyant Bangladesh will be hoping for another improved performance as they aim to regain the Bangabandhu Asian Senior Men's Central Zone International Volleyball Championship title. The hosts will take on tournament favourites Turkmenistan in the final at Shaheed Suhrawardi Indoor Stadium in Mirpur today.
The match will get underway at 3:00pm.
Both Bangladesh and Turkmenistan have stormed into the final with unbeaten records, but the visiting Turkmenistan are tipped as the superior side due to their previous association with the former Soviet Union.
Besides that, the Turkmen are technically, physically and tactically superior to Bangladesh, who have never faced the Central Asian nation before. The evidence of the visitors' strength can be gauged from the way they blitzed their way to the final, losing only one set out of 10 against Uzbekistan, Nepal and Kyrgyzstan. The Kyrgyz were the only ones who put up a fight, but they lost all three sets by a close margin.
It is mentionable here that Kyrgyzstan beat Turkmenistan in the final of the last edition of the championship held in Maldives in 2017 and Bangladesh on Wednesday fought brilliantly against the defending champions to hand them a 3-2 defeat in the second semifinal.
The boys in red and green will also admit that Turkmenistan are better than Bangladesh, who have only played two international friendlies and six warm-up matches against Iranian clubs in the two years since lifting their first-ever international volleyball trophy in 2016.
Horosit Biswas and Co. are now waiting to give everything in a bid to keep the title of the Central Zone Volleyball Championship at home for the second time. The boys in red in green looked relieved after making it to the final although some of the players could not sleep well on Wednesday night following raucous celebrations. However they are now ready to face the challenge from the unknown Turkmenistan.
"It was really challenging for us to reach the final, especially after beating a strong Kyrgyzstan. We are now very relieved and pressure-free after moving into the final as the home side. The semifinal was so exciting and it cost me an almost sleepless night," said captain Horosit yesterday morning, prior to starting his preparations for the final at the Indoor Stadium.
“We know well that the final is not going to be an easy one and we have to face an uphill task against Turkmenistan, who have good attackers as well as blockers. We are confident that we can beat them but we must block them perfectly as well as receive the ball well before launching attacks," said the 28-year-old spiker, whose side will definitely be getting another strong support from the gallery.
Horosit's counterpart Kalandarov Usmanbek was also optimistic of winning the title.
"Bangladesh are a very good team who beat Kyrgyzstan. We saw them in the match and analysed their performance. But, our strategy, plan and purpose for coming to this game is to be champions. We will do our best to win and be champions," said Usmanbek.