Bangladesh will take part in the Boys' Under-18 Asia Cup Hockey after 15 years as they host the fourth edition of the tournament which is all set to get underway at the Maulana Bhashani Hockey Stadium in the capital on September 24.
A total of seven countries split into two groups will be taking part in the meet. Bangladesh placed in Pool A along with favourites India and Oman while Pool B comprises of China, Pakistan, Chinese Taipei and Hong Kong.
India and Chinese Taipei are the first teams to arrive in Dhaka as they were scheduled to land on Tuesday while the rest of the teams will arrive on Thursday. A press conference was held on Tuesday where the details were revealed where tournament sponsor Beximco was also introduced.
The home side, who has been training in BKSP in the last two months and the boys return to the city on Tuesday, will begin their campaign with a tough test against neighbours India on the opening day on Saturday at 3pm.
Last time Bangladesh U18 team took part in this tournament was back in 2001 in Ipoh, Malaysia where they finished third among ten teams. They didn't take part in the next two editions held in Myanmar in 2009 and in Singapore in 2011.
Bangladesh have four players in the squad who have experience to play for the senior side while most of the players were selected from BKSP. National players, winger Romman Sarkar, midfielder Fazle Hossain Rabby, Arshad and defender Ashraful Islam will lead the U18 boys. They played practice matches against Bangladesh Army and Navy as part of preparation.
“Our target is to reach the final round. The result and performance of U18 national hockey team is always satisfactory. Hopefully they will continue this spree this time again. India are the strongest opponents. We never lost to Oman in U18. Pakistan are also strong team but if our boys give their best on the pitch, we can beat them.” said Bangladesh Hockey Federation vice-president Khwaja Rahmatullah on Tuesday.
After facing India on the inaugural day, Bangladesh play against Oman on September 27. The tournament will conclude on September 30.