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Dhaka Tribune

Hockey team names goals

Update : 19 Aug 2013, 06:52 PM

The Bangladesh national hockey team set a target of finishing in at least sixth place in the upcoming Asia Cup Hockey, as the 18-man squad are set to leave for Malaysia tomorrow at 12:30pm.

Head coach Naveed Alam said every single match will be a “final match” for his team and planned different strategies for different opponents. Qualifying for the Asian Games, as well as acquiring sixth place in the Asia Cup will be Bangladesh’s main target and fifth place of better would be a miracle, admitted Bangladesh Hockey Federation (BHF) general secretary Khwaja Rahmatullah, along with Naveed.

“Bangladesh team is preparing well for the Asia Cup in the last few months and we brought in foreign coach Naveed Alam for enhancing the team. But there is still a gap – namely, that we couldn’t play any practice match. We tried our best. It would have been better if we managed to play practice matches that we planned to play earlier,” said Khwaja. “I hope, our expectation is to finish at sixth position,” he added.

The hockey federation tried to play practice matches against teams like Air India, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation of India and Food Corporation but they all later denied to play. Then the federation communicated with Singapore to play at least a practice match but could not bring any team to Dhaka. Means the hockey team is heading to Malaysia with virtually no match practice against quality opposition behind them. However, Bangladesh will now have Pakistan to play a friendly match before the tournament kicks off August 24, which will be their only practice match before the final challenge.

The national players also had to face some off-the-field difficulties regarding the BHF election and players transfer window during their two and a half month training camp and those problems are yet to be resolved. However, national captain Mamunur Rahman Chayan said there are no more problems in the camp. “Hopefully BHF will take necessary steps to solve it. But now we don’t have any problem. We are only concentrating on the Asia Cup.

“In past, we played against every team with same strategy but our new coach (Naveed) set different strategy for different team. So the opponents won’t be able to predict our game anymore,” said Chayan.

A press conference was held at the Falcon Hall in the city yesterday regarding the national team’s departure for the meet tomorrow. After the players joined following a practice match at the national hockey stadium yesterday morning, the official photo session of the Asia Cup hockey team also took place.

The BHF officially declared Southeast Bank, a prominent private sector bank of the country, as the official sponsor of the national team for the Asia Cup who will provide Tk 3m to the BHF. Anjan, one of the leading boutique houses of the country and ATN Bangla will also accompany the team as co-sponsors.

Bangladesh will play their first game against Korea on August 25 before facing Oman on August 26 and India on August 28.

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