With both the teams in bottom of the group, hopes remain high on either side

Football: Bhutan will try to break its duck against Maldives today at the Changlimethang and record the first win in the World Cup qualifiers.

Bhutan had played Maldives, commonly known as Red Snappers, but have never registered a win against the island nation. “We played against them for two to three times and lost all,” a senior Bhutanese international, Passang Tshering said. “But today should be our best opportunity because all our players in form,” he said.

The Maldivian squad arrived in the country yesterday, which was quickly followed by a practice session.

Bhutan’s head coach Norio Tsukitate, in a pre-match press conference yesterday said his players are improving day by day. “The advantage of having young players on the team is that they are constantly evolving with each match,” he said.

Maldives’ new head coach, Ricki Herbert, who took the New Zealand national team into the 2010 World Cup, is expecting an exciting match since both teams placed are at the bottom of the group.

“We’re still in the process of knowing each other. We had our first practise session on Tuesday in Kolkata,” he said. “We’re determined and remain positive about the game despite the short time we spent together.”

“It’s an international game, we expect it to be exciting not only for the players but also to the fans watching,” he said.

Ricki Herbert said his team has developed respect for team Bhutan who is growing in the international front.

Younten Tshedup