The Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) is struggling to choose a suitable venue where a safe residential training camp can be conducted amidst the coronavirus pandemic ahead of the World Cup Qualifiers in October.
The BFF has assessed the advantages and disadvantages of four possible places and have sent their assessments to the National Teams Committee (NTC), headed by BFF vice-president Kazi Nabil Ahmed, for a final decision.
The BFF House, Fars Hotel, the BKSP in Savar and Sara Resorts in Gazipur are all under consideration. Previously, the training camp had been held place at Bangabandhu National Stadium with players being accommodated at Fars Hotel.
"We have sent comprehensive reports to the NTC and are awaiting a final decision, which may come by Saturday," BFF general secretary Abu Nayeem Shohag said. "We will proceed in line with the recommendations of the NTC. In the meantime, we are also supposed to get guidelines from the BFF medical committee, which is maintaining communications with FIFA and AFC on Covid-19 guidelines."
BKSP and Sara Resorts are likely to be prioritised over the BFF house and Fars Hotel, which are both situated in crowded localities, further complicating management's already tough job of keeping all members of the national team safe.
Head coach Jamie Day sought a five to six-week camp, including an overseas camp, starting in the last week of August to bring players back in shape after a long break. However, the process is supposed to get underway in the first week of August through the testing of all persons related to the national team.
Bangladesh are scheduled to host Afghanistan on October 8 but the BFF is awaiting AFC guidelines to meet the criteria to host the match in Sylhet. The team will then travel to Qatar for an away game on October 13.
"We have preliminary informed Sylhet administration and Sylhet DFA and National Sports Council about Bangladesh's home match against Afghanistan in Sylhet and requested them to take the necessary steps but we have yet to declare the venues of our last two home matches against India and Oman," said Shohag.
"It is certain the October 8 tie against Afghanistan will take place in Sylhet, which had before staged the international matches of Bangabandhu Gold Cup. If the first match in Sylhet is staged successfully, the BFF will take fresh decisions on whether to hold last two home matches in Sylhet," Shohag said
Everything is still dependent on the AFC's new guidelines, which are expected to be prepared this month, he informed.
"If we see it is not possible to hold the match in Sylhet in line with AFC guidelines, then we have no option but to change the venue. We believe we won't face any problems in staging the match in Sylhet," Shohag said, adding that the NTC also gave off the impression that they would prefer the two home matches to be held in Sylhet.