Bangladesh managed to reach the knockout stage of the Saff Championship only once in the last five editions. Almost the same group of players represented the country during this period. But with a new set of young players currently being groomed for the national side, BFF president Kazi Salahuddin hoped for a bright future with the Saff Championship beginning in four months’ time.
Bangladesh exited in the group stage of the regional football championship in the last three editions but when asked to share their target in the upcoming edition, Salahuddin said, “Expectation is always to play the final. We will do our job, the players will do theirs. I understand, it takes a generation to build the national side. Our last generation was not good enough and we must admit it.
"This is a new generation. I think they will do very good. Let's hope for the best for the new generation."
In the last two months, the national team enjoyed a two-week long camp in Qatar, a week-long camp in Thailand, including a couple of practice matches, before playing Laos in a Fifa friendly on March 27, which ended in a dramatic 2-2 draw. The former national star Salahuddin continued, "I played for the national team for 10 to 12 years but the facilities provided in the last 10 years, no federation managed to do it in the previous 50 years."
During the draw ceremony of the Saff Championship in Dhaka Wednesday, Salahuddin also reminded everyone present in the programme the background of Bangladesh's first official international match against Thailand in Kuala Lumpur on July 26, 1973. "We went to Thailand, camped the whole night before arriving in Malaysia the next night. We played the game at 2pm the following day. The result was 2-2."
Salahuddin concluded, "I'm giving this example to make the players realise that the management can’t play their games on the pitch. Our job is to ensure all the required facilities but the players have to perform to get the results. This is my message to the players."