Bangladesh have been pitted in Group A alongside hosts and defending champions Nepal as well as Bhutan in men’s football event of the upcoming 13th South Asian Games, which will be held in Kathmandu and Pokhara from December 1 to 10.
Group A features regional powerhouse India along with Maldives and Sri Lanka. Pakistan are not participating in football discipline of the seven-nation multi-sport meet.
Bangladesh, who have announced a 20-member team featuring 16 players from the current national squad, will face Nepal in their opening match on December 1 before facing Bhutan two days later.
The semifinals will be played on December 8 while the final will be played on December 10, the concluding day of the games, at the main venue – the Dasarath Rangasala Stadium in Kathmandu.
Bangladesh team could be in Nepal without even a day’s practice and may have to take on the hosts right after landing in the country the previous day as Bashundhara Kings management have decided not to release its seven players for the national team duty before November 29.
The scheduled training camp was suspended yesterday after the game’s local governing body failed to convince Bashundhara Kings to change their stance. However, Bangladesh Football Federation’s general secretary Abu Nayeem Shohag believes the Bangladesh Premier League champions will give some leeway and allow the team to reach Nepal at least three days before their opening match.
“We have learned about the fixtures today. We will talk with Bashundhara Kings officials tomorrow [Saturday] and we are hopeful that they would cooperate and leave the players with three days’ time before their first game,” Shohag told The Daily Star yesterday.