Dido to focus on preps
The Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) will focus on preparation of the national football team for the coming AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers at home as soon as the ongoing B. League is over.
Football's governing body in the country has also decided not to send the senior team to Nepal's Prime Minister Cup, which is scheduled to be held from March 5-15 in Kathmandu.
BFF vice-president and Badal Roy yesterday told that national team's new Brazilian head coach Edson Dido Silva wants to concentrate on preparation for the Challenge Cup rather than sending the team to a tournament in Nepal.
"He (Dido) has said that it would hamper preparation and he is not interested to go abroad at this stage. To do well in the Challenge Cup is his initial target," Badal told quoting Dido, who arrived in Dhaka last week.
Badal, who is also the chairman of the National Team Management Committee (NTMC) had a meeting with Dido, national coach Shafiqul Islam Manik and BFF's technical director Shahid Rahman Shantoo.
"It seems that we have a good coach who is quick to realise the situation here," Badal said after the one and half-hour long meeting with the trio.
"He has seen a few matches now and says that he is happy with the players' technique and skill. But the lacks are in psychological, mental and fitness aspects.
"He is expected to pick 30 players but wants to start with 25. He has also endorsed about 18 to 19 players from a list provided by Manik," informed the BFF vice-president adding that the BFF is now contemplating sending a second-string team to Nepal.
"Ganesh Thapa (Nepal Football Association president) had invited us along with Thailand, Pakistan and Sri Lanka and I'll talk with him within two days whether they would accept our latest proposal or not.
"We are also thinking about engaging the local clubs after the B. League ends in mid-February. There would be a one and half month gap as the national team will be in camp," he said adding that the emergency committee of the BFF will sit on this issue on Saturday.
BFF president Salahuddin also thinks that giving exposure to a younger team in Nepal would be more valuable.
"If we can find one or two outstanding performers from the tournament, it would better for the future," said Salahuddin, who came to know from the morning newspaper that Bangladesh have been made hosts of the qualifying Group A where they are pitted against Myanmar, Cambodia and winners of the Macau-Mongolia pre-qualifiers.
"It is a fantastic thing to happen to us. I also think the draw is very favourable for us as we have already played against Myanmar twice last year including a draw at their home soil. The others are also not very big and I believe they are beatable.
"If it happens in front of the home crowd, it will be a boost for the domestic scene also."
The winners of four qualifying groups and the best runners-up will join Challenge Cup holders India, Tajikistan and North Korea in the 2010 Challenge Cup finals.