Dutch coaches Lodewijk de Kruif (2nd from L) and Rene Koster (2nd from R) emerge from a meeting with Bangladesh Football Federation president Kazi Salahuddin (L) and other BFF high-ups at the president's Gulshan residence yesterday. PHOTO: COURTESY
After arriving at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in the early hours of Saturday, the Dutch coach of the Bangladesh football team Lodewijk de Kruif and assistant coach Rene Koster said they were scheduled to meet the Bangladesh Football Federation president Kazi Salahuddin in the afternoon, and that they would only talk to the media after the meeting.
The meeting took place at the president's residence in Gulshan at around 1:00pm, where BFF's senior vice president Tabith Awal, general secretary Abu Nayeem Shohag and national team's manager Amirul Islam Babu were also present. The hour-long meeting is believed to have gone very well, given the reaction of De Kruif right after the meeting.
“In my country, my culture, it is not a good thing to talk about salaries,” said the Dutchman, who has during the past four months of his imposed vacation in Netherlands expressed his grievances to Bangladesh media over the unpaid wages from time to time.
“We have had discussion with the president about our unpaid wages. I would not discuss about the exact conversation we have had because these are personal issues. What I can say is that we have got a job on our hands at the moment and we want to do the job properly. Our target is the Asian Games. Even though we have only four weeks to prepare the team, we will try to do our best,” added De Kruif.
The inability to clear the wages and the lack of work opportunity led BFF to send the two coaches to extended vacation. They left Dhaka together on April 6 and even though Koster returned to Dhaka once before leaving for Netherlands again last month, De Kruif remained in Netherlands for the last four months.
Both the coaches are believed to have more than six months of wages due. Although Salahuddin wished not to make a comment over the meeting, according to a source inside the BFF, more than half of the due amount will be cleared within the next few days and the salaries will be cleared in time from now on.
Tabith said that their and the coaches' target is one and the same -- to see the national team do well in the Asian Games in September, and BFF would provide the support that the coaches need.
“We don't want to talk about the amount of wages due. We all want to look forward to doing well in the Asian Games forgetting what happened in the past,” said Tabith.
The two coaches will start the month-long camp of the U-23 national side for the Asian games at the Bangladesh Krira Shikkha Protishthan (BKSP) in Savar tomorrow. The 25 selected players will report to the team manager at the BFF House in the afternoon today and they will have a practice match at the Bangabandhu National Stadium at 4:00pm today under the observation of De Kruif and Koster.