BNS gets green signal
The Argentinean inspection team, led by assistant coach Julian Camino yesterday gave the green signal to the Bangabandhu National Stadium (BNS) and thus cleared all lingering doubts about their friendly international against Nigeria to be held at the venue on September 6.
The inspection team did express some doubts about the time needed to reach the practice ground at the Fatullah and the dressing rooms at the BNS but these are expected to be minor hurdles in the lead up to the marquee friendly next month.
“What I saw is not important, rather the important thing is that the Argentina team will be here and Messi and our team will play football in Bangladesh,” said Rodrigo Martin Mauso, the interpreter who was accompanying the Argentinean inspection team, after seeing the practice ground at the Khan Shaheb Osman Ali Stadium in Fatullah and the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday.
The inspection team, which comprised Argentina's assistant coach Julian Camino, technical member of Argentina Football Association (AFA) Alberto Oscar Pernas and chief executive director of Celebrity Management Group, Dharamdatta Pande, first inspected the Bangabandhu National Stadium and spent nearly half an hour checking the playing surface.
After that they left the country's premium venue to visit the practice venue at Fatullah which they reached after a near two-hour drive.
After spending only a quarter of an hour viewing the pitch and the dressing rooms at Fatullah, the team travelled another nearly two and a half hours to get back to their hotel.
“The [match] venue is perfect although the toilets need to be repaired and now it depends on Bangladesh Football Federation [BFF] who are committed to the job,” said Pande adding that the inspection team would submit their report to the Argentinean Football Federation (AFA) regarding the practice venue before they make a final decision.
Abdur Rahman, director of National Sports Council, informed that the inspection team had requested to increase the number of showers as well as toilets in the dressing room. Currently, each dressing room at the BNS has only two showers and two toilets.
“Everything is on track as far as the dressing rooms are concerned. We have shown the layout of the dressing room to them and showed them that the renovation work is ongoing. They were pleased to see the layout but requested four more showers and two more toilers,” said Rahman adding that they were now waiting for the signal from CCDM to acquire the space to put everything in place.
Assistant coach Camino and Pernas were frequently spotted talking to interpreter Mauso to know about different things during their visit to both venues. Pernas took notes and captured video footages of the ground and the dressing rooms. Camino checked the current state of the BNS ground and spent more time in the dressing room.
It was also learnt that the inspection team requested a covered tunnel from dressing rooms to the ground and has requested to remove all chairs in front of the dressing rooms at the BNS.
The inspection team seemingly liked the facilities of the Khan Saheb Osman Ali Stadium in Fatullah, which is a cricket venue, but they were not happy with the time needed to reach the venue from the BNS amidst huge traffic.
It was seen that the BFF and NSC officials were trying to make interpreter Mauso understand that it would take only thirty minutes to reach Fatullah as the roads would remain clear during the practice day on September 4.
But it seemed that the inspection team wants to assess the available data they gathered on inspection.
Either the Birshreshtha Shaheed Mostafa Kamal Stadium or the Army Stadium were supposed to be used as a practice venue after the BCB initially refused to allot Fatullah. But the BCB changed its stand on Saturday night and it was seen that the grass at Fatullah was being cut and the field was being rolled just before the arrival of the inspection team.