Since Bangladesh's elimination from the semifinals of the Bangabandhu Gold Cup in late February, the key national players had been out of international action due to suspension while others missed out domestic competition due to a court ruling.
And the lack of match-practice is going to be a cause for concern ahead of Bangladesh's Asian Cup Qualifier fixture against Tajikistan next month.
Former captain Mamunul Islam, midfielders Sohel Rana, Yeamin Ahmed Munna, defenders Nasir Chowdhury and Raihan Hasan have been out of the domestic action due to the court's directives following a row between clubs over their possession. Nasirul Islam and Emon Mahmud, on the other hand, could not play for their respective clubs due to injuries they suffered nearly three months ago.
However with the ban lifted and injuries overcome these players face the biggest challenge to get match-fit before the Tajikistan fixture.
To make up for the lost time Mamunul, Sohel and Emon along with Nasir , Nasirul, Yeamin and Raihan have been seen doing extra-training at the Bangabadhu National Stadium yesterday evening.
“As they have been out of all type of action for the last three months, they have gained a bit of weight and now need to improve their fitness level which is a concern for us. That's why they have been doing extra-training before the play-offs,” said coach Saiful Bari Titu.
“The overall condition of the other players is good as they have played a tournament in the meantime. The players have already had two strengthening sessions at the gym and will have another to increase their endurance,” added Titu.
Mamunul reiterated the importance of his fitness as he believes he needs to catch-up with the in-form players.
“I personally can say that I need to have more individual training to catch-up with the other players as I did not play any matches despite training with the club. I need to improve my endurance, running and chasing. I believe I can achieve this because I have been training on my own in addition to the schedule, making it two sessions in a day.”
Meanwhile, defender Atiqur Rahman Meshu left the training camp with a Achilles tendon injury and chances are slim that he will return to the the fold in time, while Monamem Khan Raju and Rubel Mia suffered hamstring injuries and Nurul Absar sustained a knee jerk.