Bangladesh coach Jamie Day was forced to cancel the under-23 national team’s training camp for the upcoming South Asian (SA) Games after Bangladesh Premier League champions Bashundhara Kings denied the early release of eight players, citing FIFA regulations.
Of the 20-member squad, only 11 players reported to team manager Satyajit Das Rupu yesterday, the opening day of their training camp. Captain Jamal Bhuiyan had joined ahead of the camp’s opening day on Monday but eight Bashundhara Kings players -- goalkeeper Anisur Rahman Zico, Yeasin Khan, Bishwanath Gosh, Sushanta Tripura, Biplu Ahmed, Mohammad Ibrahim, Mahbubur Rahman Sufil and Rabiul Hasan -- did not report did not report yesterday.
Earlier, Bashundhara Kings had sent a letter to the Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF), saying that they would release the players on November 30, just a day ahead of the 13th SA Games in Kathmandu, Nepal.
According to the revised schedule, the team will get only a day to prepare for the football event but coach Day has denied any possibility of replacing the players and said that they would now have to adapt.
“There are a lot of national team players in Bashundhara Kings and would it be stupid to take any drastic measures right now. We changed the date [for the camp] now and that’s just something we have to accept and move on from,” Day said. “We won’t have time to acclimatize to the Nepali conditions or get the appropriate training now, which will have an effect on our performance, but we have a good group of boys who will do their best.
“We can’t have a training camp with ten players because it will do little to benefit the national team so we thought it right to cancel the camp and will now meet on the 30th as a team to travel to the SA Games.”
Meanwhile, BFF general secretary Abu Nayeem Shohag informed the media about what the letter entailed at the BFF House yesterday.
“Yesterday [Wednesday], we received a letter from Bashundhara Kings, saying that the SA Games does not belong to FIFA window, so they are not bound to release any players according to FIFA rules. They did however say that they would release the players on November 30, so that they could get a couple of days to practice with the squad ahead of the SA Games,” said Shohag.
Bashundhara Kings president Imrul Hasan also explained that they made this decision with the next domestic football league season in mind.
“We can’t have pre-season preparation as the Federation Cup will start soon after the SA Games. We haven’t even had a successive three-day training since September. We have to keep the interests of the club and at the same time we also need to look after the nation’s interests.”
Ahead of Bangladesh’s match against Oman in the joint qualifiers for the World Cup and Asian Cup, Bashundhara Kings wanted to release the players just 72 hours before the match but BFF president Salahuddin intervened to have the players reach Oman 10 days ahead of the fixture.
Imrul said that they will release the players on Nov 29 after playing a warm-up match either against local side Sheikh Jamal DC or East Bengal FC.