The Bangladesh U-23 football team are all set to leave here for Nepal on Sunday to play a friendly against the host’s U-23 side, ahead of their AFC U-23 Championship 2018 Qualifiers campaign in Palestine this month.
BFF announced a 23-man final squad, along with a four-man waiting list, on Saturday where many of the players have national team experience. The list was prepared through trial and training camp under the guidance of English-born Australian coach Andrew Ord in the last two weeks.
Ord however, is yet to choose his new captain, saying he “doesn’t want to take a decision regarding the captain so quickly”.
Apart from the friendly against Nepal, the men in red and green will also play another friendly against Qatar U-23 team before finally setting off for West Bank, Palestine.
The Nepal friendly is scheduled to be held on Tuesday. The following day they will travel to Qatar where they will enjoy a three-day training camp. The team will then fly for Jordan from where they will travel to Palestine through the roads of Israel.
“We had a good preparation in the last two weeks,” said Ord at BFF House on Saturday afternoon.
He added, “Preparation, I don’t think, is over. It is halfway through. We can have good training sessions. We have two friendlies where we can learn from the games.”
Bangladesh’s expectation from the Qualifiers was never high. Rather, the federation and head coach stated that their participation is part of their preparation for future tournaments.
Bangladesh lost 4-0 against Syria and Uzbekistan and were held to a goalless draw by India in their three matches in the last edition in Dhaka, 2016.
This time, Bangladesh will face formidable opponents in the form of Jordan on July 19, Tajikistan July 21 and Palestine July 23.
Ord expressed “optimism” and wants his side to “give their maximum”, “not lose” and “try to get off to a good start”.
“We have to defend really, really well, also keep one eye on attack and hang on for 90 minutes. We will try to play our way. Implement our way. We got our own style. Try to get into game like Bangladesh way,” said Ord.
National team management committee chairman Kazi Nabil Ahmed was realistic with their expectation from the tournament.
“It is a very tough tournament. The opponents are very strong. In my opinion, getting big results there all of a sudden would be an unrealistic expectation. We are playing this tournament as an experimental one, to see how we can be benefited ahead of future events,” said Kazi Nabil.
“Many of the players, around half of this squad, may play in the national team in future, perhaps even this year. This tournament is preparation for the upcoming Saff Championship and Bangabandhu Gold Cup,” added Kazi Nabil, who also happens to be the vice president of the BFF.
He continued, “This tournament is also an opportunity for the players to prove their worth. They can get to find their lackings and treat the event as a challenge.”
Meanwhile, the federation called up around 54 players for the trial last month. The footballers went through residential camp at BKSP while some had to miss the camp due to injury and lack of fitness, including Hemanta Vincent Biswas, who was not injured but wasn't fully fit either.
Mohammad Nayeem, Mahfuz Hasan Pritom, Anisur Rahman; Mohammad Tutul Hossain Badshah, Nurul Naim Faisal, Sushanto Thipura, Mohammad Atikuzzaman, Mohammad Khalekuzzaman Sabuj, SM Monjurur Rahman Manik, Mohammad Asaduzzaman Bablu, Rahmat Mia; Rubel Miya, Sohel Rana, Mohammad Saad Uddin, Masuk Miya Joni, Mohammad Abdullah, Mohammad Didarul Alam, Fazley Rabbi, Mohammad Jewel Rana, Hemanta Vincent Biswas; Jafar Iqbal, Mohammad Sohel Miya and Mohammad Toklis Ahmed Tonmoy
v Jordan, July 19, Wednesday, 7:30pm, West Bank
v Tajikistan, July 21, Friday, 7:30pm, West Bank
v Palestine, July 23, Sunday, 10:30pm, West Bank