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Saintfiet era begins Thursday

  • Published at 08:04 pm August 31st, 2016
Saintfiet era begins Thursday
Tom Saintfiet's new era as Bangladesh coach begins on Thursday in Male where the national football team take on hosts Maldives in a Fifa international friendly ahead of their Asian Football Confederation Cup Qualifiers Play-off against Bhutan next week. The match begins at 10pm Bangladesh time. Saintfiet signed the official contract on August 19 last month. It will be interesting to see how he drafts his formation with a number of new faces in the squad. It has been raining in Male in the last two days which is why Bangladesh had to change their official practice session on Wednesday, training in the afternoon. Bangladesh have no injury concern in the squad but have to play without regular midfielders Mamunul Islam and Jamal Bhuiyan. Hemanta Vincent Biswas, Emon Mahmud and Sohel Rana are likely to take charge of midfield in the duo's absence. Bangladesh have so far beat Maldives thrice in 11 meetings and drawing five times. But recent performances give Maldives the edge after they became runners-up in the 2015 Saff Championship in Kerala. Known as the Red Snappers, Maldives beat Bangladesh in the last two occasions they met, one in Kerala at the end of last year and in 2011 again in the Saff Championship in Delhi. Both the games ended 3-1 but before 2011, Bangladesh lost only once out of nine meetings. This is the first time that Bangladesh are in Maldives ever since taking part in the Golden Jubilee tournament in Male in 2000. Bangladesh played out a 1-1 draw under English coach Mark Harrison. Thursday's friendly will be preparation for both sides ahead of their 2019 AFC Cup Qualifiers Play-off round two matches on September 6. While the Red and Green will be taking on Bhutan in Dhaka in the first leg, Maldives will battle against Laos in Male. Bangladesh lost 6-0 on aggregate against Tajikistan while Maldives lost 4-0 on aggregate against Yemen.