Andrew Ord, the new head coach of the Bangladesh football team, sought support from local coaches when the England-born Australia coach arrived in Dhaka on Sunday night to take up the responsibility.
The appointment of Ord was confirmed by the BFF last month but the former Australian A-League coach is yet to sign the official contract. He is expected to sign on the dotted line on Wednesday in what is likely to be a one-year deal.
This is the first time Ord will manage a national team. He has more experience in scouting and coaching in the youth level. His deal with the BFF will not only be limited to the senior men's team. Rather, he will also work with the U-19 and U-23 team for the next six months.
“I need to focus on the U-23 and the U-19 AFC qualifying campaigns over the next few months and identify who will form the backbone of the senior national team from the domestic league games. By the time the Bangabandhu Gold Cup and Saff Championship come around, we need to be ready to compete. Twelve months is a long time in football and I am fully focused on what is in front of me,” Ord was quoted as saying in the BFF official website.
When he was reminded about the poor condition of the national side in recent times, Ord said, “We need to install some belief back into everybody. It is not just the players. I will need the help of local coaches who understand the culture of football and players in this part of the world.”
Below are excerpts of his full interview with BFF.
This will be your first job as head coach of a national team. Are you up for the assignment?
Of course it is a great honour to lead a national team as you represent everybody who follows football in Bangladesh. We are one of the biggest countries in the world and have to make the people proud of following us again. I want fans to feel connected with the team and come to the stadium or watch on TV with genuine hope that they will see good performance. I am confident this can be done.
You have been involved with the Australian team. Can you explain your role with the Socceroos?
It’s true, I have been opposition scout for the 2018 Fifa World Cup qualifying campaign. However as the matches are still ongoing it is not fair or professional to provide too much information at this point. I have been all over Asia in the last two years, from Iran, into the Gulf and across to Japan. I have a good understanding of how different teams play in all parts of Asia as the tactics and styles of play vary enormously from east to west. Each country has an identity and it is important we find a suitable identity for Bangladesh that everyone believes in.
You worked as academy director (16-20 years) at Yangon United FC in Myanmar. What do you think will be different here?
When I went to Myanmar in 2010, it was closed to most parts of the world. So I knew nothing about the football there before I started. In the process though, I learnt there are good players everywhere waiting for an opportunity and someone to have faith in them. Players can improve a lot over 12 months if they put their mind to it and I'm sure there are good players here too. I will be watching as much football from all levels as possible to make sure we identify the correct group to take us forward.
Bangladesh have not been doing well in the last couple of years. What will be your primary target?
We need to instil some belief back into everybody who is part of football in Bangladesh. It is not just the players. I will need the help of local coaches who understand the culture of football and players in this part of the world. Fans need to see we are building towards an improved future so they can get excited about following the national team again. Then the media will have positive stories to write about and if we can get all of this the players will be competing to be part of our set-up which will drive everything forward.
What do you think is stopping Bangladesh from attaining success?
That’s a difficult one to answer before I have had time to assess all aspects of the organisation from close quarters. It’s clear though, that I need to find the answers and come up with some solutions.
How do you plan to start your work with the national team?
My first task will be the U-23 AFC Championship qualifiers which double as Olympic qualifiers too. It is important we find several players from this group who can be the future of football in Bangladesh and fast track them into the senior national team by the end of 2017. Players only get better with opportunities but they also have to be ready to take their chance. The BPL (Bangladesh Premier League) and BCL (Bangladesh Championship League) also start soon, so I can see the level of the players and start to get an idea of who will be crucial for the two big tournaments we will be part of over the next 12 months.
Your experience in this part of the world was relatively short and quite a long time ago. And you currently come from a fast progressing A League. What do you think will be your primary challenge?
I think the three years spent in Thailand and my previous stint in Myanmar will stand me in very good stead. I learned many things and I don't think 2013 is too long ago. As long as I get the opportunity to work with the players and we get to play some meaningful friendly games in the Fifa windows, I'm sure I will have no problems adapting here. I expect players to have good technique and play with imagination. We will need to improve defensively and also possess enough of a threat in offense. I need players who want to be part of this new period and we can leave the recent past behind us.
What will be your long term vision with Bangladesh?
My job is not to think too far ahead as we have Paul Smalley, the technical director, who has already outlined the four-year vision. I need to focus on the U-23 and U-19 AFC qualifying campaigns over the next few months and identify who will form the backbone of the senior national team from the domestic league games. By the time the Bangabandhu Gold Cup and Saff Championship come around, we need to be ready to compete. Twelve months is a long time in football and I am fully focused on what is in front of me.