The Bangladesh U-18 football team are all set to leave here for Bhutan Saturday morning to take part in the Saff U-18 Championship 2017 which is scheduled to kick off in Thimphu on Monday.
The final squad of 23 players was announced on Friday.
Mahabub Hossain Roksy will guide the team as head coach while John David Whittle will accompany the squad as fitness trainer.
Bangladesh head coach Andrew Ord is also expected to be with the team during the tournament.
With the exception of only two players – Sabbir Ahmed and Isa Faysal – from the Bangladesh Championship League sides, rest of the players in the 23-man squad hail from different Bangladesh Premier League clubs, including six from newcomer Saif Sporting Club.
Roksy informed that there are at least four players who started for their respective top-flight teams regularly in the last couple of months.
He named Abahani defenders Tutul Hossain Badshah and Bishwanath Ghosh, Mohammedan right-back Monir Alam and midfielder Mohammad Al-Amin among them.
“We underwent four training camps, including the trial, but I didn’t get the whole squad for a single day except for the last three days. We are going to Bhutan with only a three-day preparation,” said Roksy during a press conference at BFF House.
Roksy continued, “All 23 players are fit. No injury problem. It would be better if we had more days together for preparation. Now whatever we have got we want to move forward. There are many talented players in the team. These players are the future of Bangladesh team.”
Roksy denied setting any target of winning the championship, rather he is more concentrated on improved performance of the team.
With that said, he didn’t forget to mention that, like every coach, he too wants to win every match.
National team management committee chairman Kazi Nabil Ahmed also spoke on the occasion.
“This month, this team will play in Bhutan and the next month they will be playing in Tajikistan (in the AFC U-19 Championship Qualifiers). This tournament is like preparation for the team. The players have been in action as the premier league was held regularly in the last two months. They also trained for 17-18 days through residential and non-residential camps. I expect positive results,” said Kazi Nabil, who also happens to be the vice president of the BFF.
Bangladesh will begin their campaign against favourite India in their inaugural match at Changlimithang Stadium on Monday before facing Maldives, Nepal and host Bhutan on September 20, 25 and 27 respectively.