Booters fly for Qatar
The national football team finally flew out this morning for Qatar to take part in the Joint Qualifiers of World Cup and Asia Cup but there was dissatisfaction brought on by a lack of preparation.
Coach Jamie Day however may find solace in not receiving further blows as all 23 players and officials returned negative in Covid-19 tests, which are mandatory.
The British coach will not have a full-strength squad to choose from following the absence of injured players like Nabib Newaj Jibon, Bishwanath Ghosh and Saad Uddin while forwards Mohammad Ibrahim and Mahbubur Rahman Sufi have been suffering from Covid-19.
Both forwards are supposed to join the squad before June 3, subject to their covid-19 negative reports.
"We are going to Qatar with 23 players as Ibrahim and Sufil haven't recovered (from Covid-19) yet but they will join the squad before June 3 if they return negative in next test," manager Iqbal Hossain told The Daily Star from the airport over phone.
The former national midfielder feels that the national team left here for Doha without adequate practice matches to prepare for the challenge. The national team yesterday played Sheikh Jamal.
"It was the first match after the training and the coach fielded two set of players in two halves though the boys tried their best. It could have been better for the boys had they gotten one or two more practice matches before the departure," said Iqbal adding that there is no opportunity to play any practice matches in Qatar before the first match against Qatar.
On arrival of the Bangladeshi contingent in Qatar, all players and officials will undergo Covid-19 tests before they can begin training, subject to the Covid-19 negative reports.
Bangladesh will play their first match against Afghanistan on June 3 while the second and third matches are slotted for June 7 and 15 against India and Oman respectively.