Kings Arena in contention to host Afghanistan
Bangladesh Football Federation yesterday announced the dates of two FIFA friendly matches against Afghanistan on September 4 and 7 as part of the national team's preparation for October's World Cup pre-qualifiers against Maldives.
The game's local governing body, however, is in a quandary over the venue.
Currently, the Sylhet District Stadium the only venue fully prepared to host international matches, but the National Teams Committee of BFF is also scrutinising alternate venues to host Afghanistan.
Bashundhara Kings Arena in Dhaka and MA Aziz Stadium in Chattogram were among alternate venues discussed in the last meeting. Kings Arena is trying to get permission from AFC to host their AFC Cup matches while MA Aziz Stadium last hosted international club matches in 2019.
With MA Aziz Stadium yet to be inspected, Bashundhara Kings Arena emerges as a frontrunner to host Afghanistan, subject to international venue recognition from the AFC and approval from FIFA.
An AFC marketing team comprising three members has already inspected the venue on July 27 before giving some observations to be implemented before August 30 if Bangladesh Premier League champions Kings want to host their home matches of AFC Cup group stage, which are slotted from September 17 to December 14.
Kings will directly play in the group stage of the AFC Cup if they fail to progress past the AFC Champions playoffs.
"The inspection areas of the AFC marketing team were the ground, broadcasting facilities, safety and security. They provided us some observations and asked us to send the development of observation between August 20 and 30," the club's media and marketing manager Ahmed Shaaek told The Daily Star.
"Stands need to be set up to install cameras for broadcasting. There needs to be chairs at the gallery and some modifications at the doping room, match commissioner's room and dressing rooms," Shaaek said. "The entrance and exit area of the players have to be secured so that spectators can't come into contact with the players."
"Installation of 7000 to 10000 chairs is a bit challenging within this period of time but all others requirements are possible to meet. We are trying our best to get the recognition to host the AFC Cup matches," Shaeek said.
BFF general secretary Imran Hossain Tushar informed that they haven't taken any final decision about the venue but that they would like to host Afghanistan at Kings Arena if it gets approval before the arrival of Afghanistan on August 28.