Footballers were maintaining fitness with the hope of returning to action through the Bangladesh Premier League, but the abandonment of the league and the cancellation of the rest of the season due to the coronavirus pandemic will mean a break in their fitness regime which could have an adverse impact on the national team, who still have four more fixtures of World Cup Qualifiers left.
Although the resumption of the qualifiers is uncertain, a Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) official hinted that FIFA is likely to resume the qualifiers in late November or early December. In that case, the footballers will remain out of competitive matches for another four to five months until the new season gets underway or the qualifiers resume.
Considering the domestic scene, the footballers want the national team's camp to start at least two months before the next qualifying fixture and they want practice matches arranged so that they can get match-fit and get the right team combination in place.
"As there will be no competitive matches in domestic circuit, there will be an impact on the international matches no matter how hard we work at gym individually. Training along with other team members is totally different from individual training which can't push the individual to a level of fitness he needs to play at competitive level," opined defender Bishwanath Ghosh.
Left-back Rahmat Mia believes they need at least one month to regain fitness.
"All players will stay at home and their fitness will definitely deteriorate, so we need long-period training including one month for fitness training," Rahmat said.
Centre-back Tapu Barman said: "To be frank, our preparation for international matches is done through matches in the domestic circuit but it will not happen as the season has ended. So, we have to make a plan for the qualifiers as early as possible. I think we should start a training camp two months before the qualifier against Afghanistan because we need to work on fitness, team combination and game plan."
Head coach Jamie Day was used to having only 10 days' training ahead of international fixtures, and he believes the players will need four to five weeks of training to get their fitness back.
"Once we know when the qualifiers are, we can put a plan in place to get the players up to speed. If the qualifiers resume in November or December, we will have the players in the camp before those fixtures. It will take four to five weeks to get them fit," said Day, who is expected to renew his expired contract within a few days.