The national team yesterday began training under the newly-installed floodlights at the Maulana Bhasani Hockey Stadium with the aim of getting accustomed before possibly playing three matches in the Qualifying Tournament of the Asian Games in Oman under lights.
Bangladesh are scheduled to play one of four Pool A matches against Hong Kong under floodlights while both the semifinal and final are also scheduled to be held at night in Oman, who will host the nine-team Qualifying Tournament from March 8 to 17.
Although the team started their preparations on January 13, yesterday's was their first training under floodlights and it will continue till the team departs for Oman on March 6.
It was also the national team's first training session under floodlights since the completion of the Asia Cup on October 22 last year. The home team could not practice under lights then due to late installation of the floodlights and had to practice in daylight.
"We will have a practice match under floodlights tomorrow [Friday], and then the players will have two more training sessions on March 4 and 5. Practicing under floodlights will help the boys become accustomed to playing the group match against Hong Kong," said coach Mahbub Harun before training at the Big Bowl yesterday.
Bangladesh will play a practice match against Kazakhstan on March 7 under floodlights before starting their campaign against Afghanistan on March 9.
The Bangladesh Hockey Federation attempted to bring South Korea to Dhaka for a few practice matches, but they did not respond due to their domestic engagements. The hockey team were also supposed to go to India for preparation matches but the plan was dropped due to 'huge expenditure'.
However, Harun believes the practice match against Kazakhstan will be good for his charges as they are from the Russian bloc.
"We chose Kazakhstan because they are a good side and their players once played for Russia. In the 1993 Asia Cup, Kazakhstan drew 2-2 with India but Bangladesh beat Kazakhstan in group stage. Interestingly, Bangladesh then lost to Kazakhstan in the fifth-sixth placing-deciding match. So, they are expected to be a good team," said Harun.
Bangladesh were drawn in Pool A alongside Indonesia, Afghanistan, Thailand and Hong Kong while Pool B consists of hosts Oman, Sri Lanka, Chinese Taipei and Kazakhstan.