Booters training hard
Abu Yusuf is looking forward to build a team that will understand the concept of modern football and try to play it.
"I want a team that will defend together and go into the attack in full force," said Bangladesh national coach Yusuf, who has been in charge of the national team for just over two weeks.
With two players -- Jumratul Islam Mithu and Zahid Hossain -- missing from the 28-member preliminary squad, Yusuf has been training the rest very hard at BKSP.
"Its true I have been giving them hard time. The fitness level must be high to cope with modern day football and I am satisfied at the overall condition although not all of the 26 players have reached the same height.
"It will take some time before we reach a certain stage where we can press the footballers to play an all-out game," said the former national defender, whose first assignment as national coach would be next month's AFC Challenge Cup qualifying rounds in Kyrgyzstan.
"Also, we have to cool them down in time so that they stay fresh during the tournament."
Yusuf hoped he would be able to give the boys at least a decent practice match two weeks later and he would prefer to have Abahani as opponents.
"Abahani have been training for long for the AFC President's Cup and a match between us would serve both the teams."
Bangladesh are pitted against the hosts, Laos and Afghanistan in their Challenge Cup group and only the champions will go through for the finals.
"There is little difference among the three teams we will face. If our team can play according to our preparation, they would compete well. I think the result would not be bad," said the former national defender, avoiding giving any clear target.
"Its still not the time to tell whether we would be able to win the group and qualify for the final rounds. I want the team to play the three matches in good rhythm to prepare for the SAFF Football Championship," he said.
Last edition's runners-up Bangladesh are lined up against SAFF football co-hosts Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Bhutan in their group.
The coach has been also trying to improve the national team's long-term crisis of the inability in shooting from different positions.
Foreign coaches have complained regularly about this, especially about the attacking midfielders who lack shooting power as well as accuracy. In the last few years, hardly any player has scored from this position, putting the strikers under too much pressure.
Admitting the fact, Yusuf said it was because lack of individual practising.
"Players these days do not give much time in personal training. One of the reasons is they feel frustrated because football is hardly being played around. Without regular tournaments, they can't set a target.
"I have been spending one session daily to train the players shoot inside from the opposition penalty area; from any position. Not just the strikers but also everyone in the side. Hope it would bring good result," told Yusuf, who was satisfied with the facilities at the Savar sport institute.