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Experimental hosts up against Saff holders

10An experienced yet tired Bangladesh side will be in the mood to experiment when they face south Asian neighbours Afghanistan in a Fifa international friendly at Bangabandhu National Stadium today.
Less than 72 hours after tasting an undeserved defeat against Singapore in another friendly, the Bangladesh footballers did not get enough time to recover so Dutch head coach Lodewijk de Kruif will have a lot to ponder ahead of today’s friendly.
History favours the men in red and green as they have never lost to the Afghans in four matches. Bangladesh have won once with the other three matches ending in draws but recent performances and the latest Fifa rankings clearly gives the edge to the Lions of Khorasan. The visitors are the reigning Saff champions and are ranked 135th, 34 places ahead of Bangladesh.
The Afghans however, are in transition. German-Bosnian coach Slaven Skeledzic has only been at the helm for three months so the team are yet to gel fully. They will require some rebuilding as there are more German-based players in the team in comparison with the locals.
Bangladesh, in contrast, started their rebuilding process two years ago under the stewardship of De Kruif. De Kruif, who injected the Dutch philosophy into his charges, has done a commendable job.
The two sides will meet each other for the first time in seven years and both the teams will treat this friendly with the utmost importance. Ahead of their respective campaigns in the 2018 Fifa World Cup second round qualifiers, both the hosts and the visitors will look to put the finishing touches to their preparation with their first qualifier slated for June 11.
Mohammedan goalkeeper Ashraful Islam Rana is likely to make his international bow today as Mazharul Islam Hemel was excluded from the 23-man squad