The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) on Tuesday confirmed Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, as the home venue for Afghanistan, ending weeks of speculation regarding the venue for Bangladesh’s first match against the wartorn nation in the Joint Qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup and the 2023 Asian Cup.
The continental football’s governing body released venues for the first four matchdays of the qualifiers, and according to the schedule, Bangladesh will play against Afghanistan at the Republican Central Stadium in Dushanbe on September 10.
Earlier, the Afghans wanted Doha, Qatar as their home venue, but since Qatar is in the same Group E as with Bangladesh and Afghanistan, the request was denied by the AFC.
On confirmation from the AFC, the Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) has decided to hold a week’s camp in Dhaka from August 24 or 25 before departure for Dushanbe, where Bangladesh national team will hold a 10-day camp.
“The team would likely leave for Tajikistan on September 1 following a week’s camp in Dhaka. The 10-day camp in Dushanbe will feature two practice matches against two top clubs of Tajikistan,” BFF’s general secretary Abu Nayeem Shohag said yesterday.
While the squad will train for a week in Dhaka before their departure, head coach Jamie Day will get the full squad at his disposal only after August 30 following the completion of Abahani’s AFC Cup away match against April 25 SC of North Korea on August 28.
The BFF spokesman further claimed that it was as per Day’s wish that the camp will start in the last week of August.
“The coach did not want the players to go through a long camp, especially after such a long season. He wanted the players to have sufficient rest and the scheduling of the camp has been fixed on his suggestion,” Shohag added.
Bangladesh will play their second match against Qatar at the Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka on October 10 before playing against India on October 15 at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata.
Bangladesh (182) are the lowest ranked side in the group while Afghanistan are ranked 149th. Qatar are the highest-ranked side at 62nd followed by Oman (87) and India (103).