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Dhaka Tribune

New hope for Bangladesh football

Update : 17 Apr 2014, 08:48 PM

Kazi Salahuddin, the president of Bangladesh Football Federation has urged the government and all the other concerned sectors to step ahead in patronize football in order to achieve a new height by utilizing the new opportunity offered by Asian Football Confederation.

The president, speaking over phone from Malaysia thinks Bangladesh have to start working to avail the opportunity and work hard to play in the Asian Cup 2019. “With the teams extended to 24 for the Asian Cup 2019, I think we have to chalk out a master plan and start working to implement it. It’s a great opportunity for a country like Bangladesh and a great way to raise the standards,” said Salahuddin.

The BFF president wanted full-fledged support from all the quarters. “We are working hard but it would not be possible without the proper support of the government and the other concerned sectors. I firmly believe that Bangladesh can play in the Asian Cup in 2019 with a proper plan,” said Salahuddin. 

Saiful Bari Titu, the assistant national coach, also felt a new door has been opened. “Now it will be a target based work plan. Bangladesh have the aspiration to go ahead and AFC has opened the door. We must design a comprehensive plan for the optimum benefit,” said Titu.

In order to give opportunity to more Member Associations to be part of Asia’s flagship competition, the AFC Executive Committee on Wednesday decided to approve a proposal to increase the number of teams in the AFC Asian Cup from 16 to 24 from the 2019 edition. There will be no more edition of The AFC Challenge Cup after the next edition in Maldives. AFC also decided to merge the preliminary qualification rounds for FIFA World Cup qualifiers and AFC Asian Cup.

The teams will be divided into eight groups in the preliminary stage. The eight group winners and four second best teams from all the eight groups will qualify for the FIFA World Cup final round of qualifiers as well as the AFC Asian Cup finals. Presently, only ten teams battle it out in the final round of FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

The next best 24 teams from the preliminary qualification round (24 teams) will compete for the remaining slots in the AFC Asian Cup finals in six groups of four teams each. 

Meanwhile, Bangladesh’s AFC ranking have also been thrown into a new challenge as Thirty percent of points will be allocated for national teams’ performances while seventy percent for the clubs’ showings in different AFC tournaments.

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