Booters' camp starts today
The national football team is set to get back to business today after a 16-month hiatus with a training camp at the Bangladesh Krira Shikkha Protisthan in Savar following Bangladesh Football Federation's (BFF) revelation of a programme for September's SAFF Championship, which will be held in Dhaka.
As part of buildup for the regional event, the national team will play a FIFA friendly against Laos on March 27, some 17 months since their shock defeat against Bhutan in the Asian Cup qualifying playoff.
This will be a fresh start for the team as some 15 players from the Bhutan match were excluded from the 35-member preliminary squad declared by coach Andrew Ord a few days ago. It is also the first assignment with the senior team for Ord, who was appointed in June last year but only had the chance to work with the under-23 and the under-19 teams.
“Keeping September's SAFF Championship in sight, we are going to hold activities of the national team, including training camp at BKSP from tomorrow, ahead of the friendly against Laos on March 27. The booters will also have a two-week a preparation camp in Qatar as well. They will leave for Qatar on February 28 and return on March 14. Then they will have a two-day rest and two days of training before travelling to Thailand on March 19. The team will play two warm-up matches against club sides there on March 21 and 25 before heading to Laos on March 25,” National Teams' Committee chairman Kazi Nabil Ahmed disclosed, adding that there would be month-wise training programme till the SAFF Championship.
Ord believes it is time for action even though he does not want to make any promises at the moment.
“The President [Kazi Salahuddin] is right that the time for making excuses is over, but we can't move from terrible to well-built in one game. You have to be realistic, you need to understand where we are but we have got to improve, we have to be more passionate, we have to be built for 95 minutes, not embarrassing the nation by having players who can't continue because they are not fit,” said Ord.
“We have got to crop out stupid mistakes; we have to gain self-respect back into ourselves, into football and the country. My responsibility is to make sure the tactics are right, pick the right players and put them in the right positions properly. The players also need to do their job,” added Ord.
The Australian picked 35 players without naming any one from Bangladesh Premier League champions Abahani. He reasoned that the Abahani players were not included for the time being due to their AFC Cup commitment.
He, however, assured that he would call up Abahani players upon the return of the national team from Qatar and those players would travel to Thailand and will be part of the squad for the Laos match.
Ord also explained that he has picked so many young players to scrutinise them not only for the senior team, but also for the under-23 team which is supposed to play in the Asian Games prior to the SAFF Championship.
Meanwhile, defender Yeasin Khan and winger Jewel Rana withdrew from the camp due to injuries after reporting to the coach, who will start the camp with 24 players. Nine other players, who played in the Independence Cup final, will join the camp on February 21.