All of the African teams have been placed in the same group, while the other group is comprised of three Asian countries
Bangabandhu Gold Cup will see the participation of some senior national teams from Africa for the first time, that too with three unfamiliar football nations from the eastern part of the continent in its sixth edition.
All of the African teams have been placed in the same group, while the other group is comprised of three Asian countries.
The semifinal line-ups will see something for the first time in world football as well, as Burundi, Mauritius and Seychelles have never played against Palestine, Sri Lanka or Bangladesh before.
The lack of familiarity with the African opposition was highlighted when many national players were puzzled to hear the names such as Seychelles and Burundi.
They struggled to pronounce the names and took the help of Google to get a hint of their position in the game.
Seychelles, whose football team’s nickname is the Pirates, is a country of around 100,000 people and its head coach Don Anacoura twice drew attention to the country’s small size in the pre-tournament press conference Tuesday.
“We can’t underestimate or overestimate anyone as we don’t know much about Bangladesh, Palestine and Sri Lanka, except their Fifa rankings. We have good preparation because the boys have come from the back of a full season. The team is a mixture of young and experienced players,” Anacoura said before the start of his side’s campaign against Burundi Saturday.
Burundi are the top-ranked side in Group B and were the last visiting team to arrive in Dhaka Tuesday, and thus couldn’t join the presser at BFF House in Dhaka.
They begin their mission Thursday against Mauritius, who travelled with perhaps the youngest squad in the meet.
“We have six players aged around 17 while the others are between 20 and 24,” Mauritius coach Francisco Filho said, with most experienced member Pascal Damien nearby.
The Brazilian added: “We have come here with a young team to gather experience. We want to win but we have to be realistic, because the opponents are more experienced.”
The other teams in Group A (Palestine and Sri Lanka) are familiar not only with the host team but also the soil of Bangladesh.
The Palestinians are the defending champion while the Lankans last participated in the 2016 edition.
Asia (Group A)
Palestine – 106
Bangladesh – 187
Sri Lanka – 205
Africa (Group B)
Burundi – 151
Mauritius – 172
Seychelles - 200