Booters’ endeavour for fitness | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, November 25, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:10 AM, November 25, 2020

Booters’ endeavour for fitness

Fit-again Jibon to fly to Doha today

Bangladesh national football team will look to get fitter ahead of the World Cup qualifier against Qatar as they take on Qatar Army, an amateur side, in one of two warm-up matches at the Al Azizyah Boutique ground in Doha today.

With head coach Jamie Day away from the team, the men in red and green have been training under assistant coach Stuart Watkiss over the last three days following a 72-hour quarantine at the team hotel. Yesterday they had nearly one-and-a-half hour's training with the ball and a 30-minute gym session in a quest to getting fitter for the December 4 match.

Bangladesh played two FIFA international friendlies against Nepal before flying for Doha on November 19, but they lacked fitness, cohesion and energy in those two matches, the first of which they won 2-0 before playing out a goalless draw in the second match.

"The main objective [of this practice match] is to get in shape and get some organisation of the team, going into the Qatar game. Obviously we are focusing on full fitness and emphasising on hard working game with organisation and structure of the team. There is no expectation on the result [from the warm-up match]; if we work hard and have good possession of the ball, we will win the game," goalkeeping coach Les Cleeveley said.

A Bangladesh Football Federation statement said that yesterday's practice session focused on activation, passing practice, short games, game training and set-plays and that all players and officials were motivated to perform their level best for today's match.

It has been learnt that Watkiss may field almost the same playing eleven that started against Nepal, with Mahbubur Rahman Sufil and Sohel Rana likely to come in place of Suman Reza and Nabib Newaj Jibon.

Jibon, however, has already recovered from a  knee injury which he sustained during the second match against Nepal in Dhaka and he is scheduled to fly to Doha today.  "I was in full bed rest in the last six days and took medicine which physio Andre Joan suggested me. Now there is no pain on my knee. Joan, having discussed the matter with Jamie Day, asked me to join with the team for training," said Jibon, who is hoping to play against Qatar with only nine days remaining for the game.

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