British head coach Robert Martin Ryles takes the qualifiers as “good test” for the budding booters and wants to focus mainly on development of the players rather than the qualification as 11 group winners and four best runners-up will qualify for the final round
Bangladesh U-16 boys’ football team will leave here for Qatar Monday ahead of the AFC U-16 Championship 2020 Qualifiers whose Group E round scheduled to be held in the capital city Doha on September 18-22.
Having been placed in the same group with Qatar, Yemen and Bhutan, Bangladesh are participating in the competition without eleven players from the recently concluded Saff U-15 Championship as most of whom reportedly failed to verify their age through MRI test.
A total 12 players from the Saff meet remained in the latest squad while three players from Saff U-15 Championship 2018 champion’s team – goalkeeper Md Mehedi Hasan, defender Md Rabiul Alam and forward Moinul Islam Moin – also returned to deliver a little boost.
British head coach Robert Martin Ryles takes the qualifiers as “good test” for the budding booters and wants to focus mainly on development of the players rather than the qualification as 11 group winners and four best runners-up will qualify for the final round.
“(After the Saff Championship) we looked at things where they need to improve. The target we have for the players in this competition is to perform in optimum level. We are eagerly looking forward to the challenges ahead. It will be good test for them to see where they are.” said Ryles during a press conference at the BFF House Sunday.
Bangladesh defeated Qatar 2-0 in the last edition’s qualifiers two years ago. While asked if the same can be repeated, Ryles replied, “Anything is possible. I’m optimistic but I have to be realistic as well. The competition is extremely tough.”
Defender Jony Sikder, who played against Bhutan and India in the Saff U-15 Championship last month, said, “This team is better than the Saff Championship. We have done some special training in set-piece, counter and defence. We also have a better goalkeeper. Hopefully we will put up a positive display in Qatar.”
The U-16 team played three practice matches against Mohammedan SC and Saif SC U-18 youth teams and Pioneer League outfits Uttara Club losing the first two ones while winning the last one.
Bangladesh will begin their campaign against favourites Qatar on September 18 before facing Bhutan and Yemen on September 20 and 22 respectively. The matches will be held on artificial turf while Bangladesh did most of their training sessions on natural grass. However, Ryles doesn’t want to take this as an excuse.