Having rested for nearly three weeks following the completion of a long domestic season, the national footballers are all set to return to action as the preparation camp of the national team for joint qualifiers of Qatar World Cup and China Asian Cup will get underway on Friday in Dhaka.
Bangladesh will play their first match of the qualifiers against Afghanistan on September 10 in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.
Head coach Jamie Day, who returned to Dhaka yesterday after spending more than two months in England, will however have to start the camp without seven Abahani players, who are with the club for AFC Cup’s inter-zone semifinal playoffs on August 21 and 28.
The 39-year-old coach will get his full squad from the second-phase training camp to be held in Dushanbe with the players leaving for Tajikistan on September 1. In Dushanbe, the squad will have intensive training and play two practice matches against Tajikistan Premier League clubs on September 3 and 5.
The plan was disclosed yesterday after National Teams Committee chairman Kazi Nabil Ahmed and others met with Day and his assistant coach.
“The national football team will start training in Dhaka from August 23 before they leave here for Tajikistan on September 1 as part of their preparation for the match against Afghanistan,” Nabil said. “As Afghanistan chose Tajikistan as their home venue, we have decided to send the national team to Tajikistan for their preparation to acclimatise them with the weather, altitude and the astro-turf for a good result against Afghanistan.”
Replying to a query, Nabil said that the national team would get maximum practice facilities in Tajikistan and would play two practice matches against local clubs. He added that if needed they would pay to get astro-turf for training as the Afghanistan-Bangladesh match will take place on astro-turf at the Central Republican Stadium in Dushanbe.
Day will get more than two weeks to prepare his charges, and the English coach believes the break for the players is more important than them for a long time.
“Time is more than enough. If you look at the Abahani players, they have no rest as they are still in action while the rest of the players are getting some rest. In any team around the world, the players need at least five to six weeks’ rest following the completion of domestic season but we did not have such opportunity due to the commitments. The players need physical and mental break. I think the players are coming to action exactly 20 days after the completion of the premier league.
“For me, I did not need to start early. I think our players will be ready for the first match, I have 100 percent faith on them as they have been given the programme of how to maintain their fitness,” said Day.
About the Afghanistan match, Day said, “It’s a tough group and we are the lowest ranked side in the group, but we want to go to every game with the belief that we want to try to win. We don’t want to be negative. We have done very well this year. We are positive before going to play against Afghanistan. It’s a tough game, but we will try our best to get a positive result.”