Bangladesh's Belgian head coach Tom Saintfiet included midfielder Mamunul Islam and striker Jahid Hasan Ameli in his final 23-man squad announced on Wednesday, ahead of their crucial Asian Cup Qualifying Play-off away to Bhutan this Monday.
Former national captain Mamunul was a surprise omission from Saintfiet's final squad for the first leg at home early last month, following which the Chittagong Abahani midfielder in his immediate reaction decided to retire.
Saintfiet admitted that he needs a player like Mamunul with the upcoming game scheduled to be held on artificial turf.
The current crisis in scoring is one of the key reasons behind the decision to call back Ameli. The Sheikh Russel Krira Chakra striker has been out of the national squad for more than eight months due to injury and lack of form.
The last time he featured in a red and green jersey was in the Bangabandhu Gold Cup in January this year.
Looking at the newly-shaped squad, Saintfiet's intention seems clear as the Belgian tactician named 10 forwards, including strikers and wingers, against five defenders and as many midfielders.
“This is a very important match for all of us. A must win game. If we draw 1-1 we will be satisfied. But we must qualify,” said Saintfiet.
He added, “I didn't select many defenders because my idea is we need to score.”
Saintfiet is expecting a physical challenge against Bhutan.
“Our strategy is that the whole team will play a defensive role. I would expect Bhutan to attack. They would try to take advantage of the 2400m altitude, 16 degrees weather and full house crowd,” the 43-year old said before adding, “In the first half we are going to play compact. We are not going to play blind attack. We are going to play with good organisation. And hopefully this time we score goals.
“The altitude, it’s very difficult to play for 90 minutes. We should not lose energy unnecessarily. We need to be focused.”
Meanwhile, Ameli was a picture of happiness after being included in Saintfiet's main squad.
“I'm very happy to have returned to the team after a long time. The coach was satisfied with me in the practice sessions. The team are in good shape. Hopefully we will win the away match because the team are a mixture of young and experienced players.”
The men in red and green will fly off for Thimphu on Friday morning.
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