Newly appointed Bangladesh head coach Tom Saintfiet included young midfielders Hemanta Vincent Biswas and Atiqur Rahman Fahad in the national training camp yesterday to fill the vacancy of the suspended Jamal Bhuiyan in midfield.
Jamal received yellow cards in his last two matches, against Tajikistan in the first round of the Asian Cup Qualifiers Play-offs, and will miss the home tie against Bhutan on September 6.
Interestingly, the Belgian coach was not notified about the suspension of Jamal while he was preparing the 33-man preliminary squad, announced on Saturday, where the expatriate midfielder was included. He was only informed on Monday.
“The reason we added two players is because I got informed [Monday] that Jamal may not play but I was not informed about it before. So, I wanted to take another player in that position. I wanted Hemanta to come back to have more quality and options in training,” said Saintfiet yesterday.
The 43-year old coach informed that he has “some ideas” regarding the starting XI against Bhutan but nothing concrete.
Saintfiet, who conducted a six-day training camp from July 11-16, is certain that the majority of the previous national camp will be included in the final squad.
“I'm sure a big group of players from last month's camp will be in the group of 23 and 11. But some players will be included when they prove to be ready. So it will be a very balanced squad. Actually, the majority will be from the first squad. I'm sure about that,” added Saintfiet.
Meanwhile, a total of 29 players trained under the guidance of Saintfiet at Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday afternoon. Captain Mamunul Islam was unable to train due to thigh pain.
Arrival of fitness trainer
South African Ridoh Burden joined Bangladesh as the fitness trainer yesterday and was part of the training camp later on the same day after arriving in the capital on Monday evening.
Ridoh introduced himself to the media after the training session.
“I worked with a few premier league teams in South Africa. I worked at the Bolton Wanderers academy in the UK in 2006. I worked with Botswana national team, who played African Nations Cup, and also with Togolese national team last year,” said the fitness trainer.
He added, “I worked with a lot of African players and countries and worked with Emmanuel Adebayor, who played in Europe. The African mentality is different to Asia. In Asia, there is always potential because a lot of players strive to do better.”
When queried to describe the fitness of the Bangladesh players, Ridoh said, “It's very soon to say. One thing I can say is that there is quality here. We have players who are very determined and a good bunch which is impressive and willing to improve.”
Saintfiet said he is happy with the arrival of Ridoh with whom he worked together in Togo last year. New Zealand coach Ryan Sandford also arrived in Dhaka yesterday evening to become the goalkeeping coach of the national team.