Bangladesh’s preparation for next month’s two World Cup qualifiers got underway on Monday when 27 footballers out of 32-member preliminary squad reported to the Bangladesh Football Federation.
Bangladesh will start their World Cup qualifiers campaign on June 11 against Kyrgyzstan at the Bangabandhu National Stadium before facing Tajikistan five days later at the same venue.
As part of preparation for the matches, Bangladesh will also play two international friendlies against Singapore and Afghanistan, respectively on May 30 and June 2.
Though most of the players of the preliminary squad reported to the manager Amirul Islam Babu and goalkeeping coach Christian Schweichler, barring 11 players from Sheikh Jamal Dhandmondi Club, all others left for their club duty on the first day.
Captain of the side Mamunul Islam believed that the two warm-up matches will help them to pick the right players for two qualifiers.
‘Not only the first two home matches in the World Cup qualifiers but also the two warm-up matches against Singapore and Afghanistan are also important for us,’ said Mamunul, who was sidelined in his last three league matches with a calf muscle injury.
‘We will know what our standard is from these two games [Warm-up games].’
Two young players in the team—Sohel Rana and Hemanta Vincent—said they will be looking to return to their best form having underperformed in the league.
Both midfielders said they were denied their favourite positions in the league, which took a toll in their performances.
Sohail said he is comfortable to the central midfield but he had to play in the left while Hemanta were played only as a holding midfielder for their respective clubs.
‘I’m not satisfied with my performance. Usually I like to play in midfield but I had to play on left wing for the sake of the team,’ said Sohel Rana.
Hemanta said that he did not have any prior experience of playing in the holding midfield position but he was compelled to do so.
‘In the national team I usually play in the attacking midfield but my club coach asked me to play as holding midfielder where I never played before,’ said Hemanta, who is eager to prove his worth in the forthcoming World Cup Qualifiers.
‘It’s a great opportunity for us to play in the World Cup qualifiers and we must utilise this opportunity.’
Team’s German goalkeeping coach Christian Schweichler and assistant coach Masud Pervez Kaysar are currently guiding the team in the absence of head coach Lodewijk de Kruif and assistant coach Saiful Bari Titu.
De Kruif, who is now in Netherlands, is likely to be arrived Dhaka on May 21 while Titu will join the camp on June 23 after completing his pro-license coaching course in Malaysia.
Schweichler instructed his charges to give hundred percent concentrations to their game rather than any other activities.
‘Eat, sleep and practice but no gossiping and facebooking during this time,’ he said.
‘It’s a great opportunity for the players as well as BFF to show their worth to world what they can do at the highest level in football,’ Schweichler added.
Sheikh Russell’s winger Zahid Hossain didn’t join the camp due to illness while Jamal’s center back Nasiuddin Chowdhury is now at his Chittagong’s residence to see his ailing father.
Another Jamal defender Yeasin Khan was absent in the camp due to his head injury that he received in their last Bangladesh Premier League match against Abahani Limited.
Jamal’s midfielder Jamal Bhuiyan went to Denmark to meet his family and will join on May 25.
German based Bangladeshi midfielder Reasal Khaton, who is now in Philippines, is likely to join on May 24.
Others players from Abahani, Sheikh Russell, Mohammedan, Muktijoddha and Team BJMC will join to the camp after the completion of their respective league matches.
Source: New Age