Qatar-grown Nawbab makes the cut

Newly appointed interim head coach Mario Lemos revealed a 24-member preliminary squad of Bangladesh football team for next month's Four Nations invitational tournament in Sri Lanka yesterday.

The squad involves the inclusion of a new face in Obidur Rahman Nawbab, who was groomed in the Aspire Academy of Qatar and represented Qatar U-19 national team before joining Al Duhail Club for the Stars League and Qatar Cup.

Last year, the 22-year-old left-winger Nawab joined Bangladesh Premier League champions Bashundhara Kings from Al Duhail Club as a free agent and played around 76 minutes in two matches under the guidance of Kings' Spanish coach Oscar Bruzon, who was Lemos' immediate predecessor in the national team.

 Post-selection, Nawbab did not respond despite repeated phone calls, however, Portuguese coach Lemos explained the surprise inclusion.

 "I saw Nawbab a little in the Bangladesh Premier League but I think he has the potential. He is, perhaps, a little bit different than the rest," Lemos told The Daily Star over phone as he returned to Dhaka on Sunday night from South Korea.

 Captain Jamal Bhuiyan and defender Tariq Raihan Kazi, both Finland-born, had already cemented their place in the national team's playing eleven after proving themselves in the domestic competition while expatriates Rahbar Wahed Khan and Reasat Khaton went on to directly feature for the national team earlier.

"I reckon he [Nawbab] deserves a chance in the preliminary squad provided he hasn't been given a chance before," said the Portuguese coach, who worked with the national team as the fitness trainer in 2017 and also had guided Abahani till the zonal semifinals of AFC Cup.

"A lot of U-23 players who are in the training camp [for AFC U-23 Asian Cup], I've watched them closely. About him [Nawbab], some of the local players gave me good feedback," said Lemos.

 Even though Lemos selected 24 players in his preliminary squad, the 35-year-old informed that at least six U-23 players – Tutul Hossain Badsha, Rahmat Mia, Mahbubur Rahman Sufil, Riyadul Hasan Rafi, Mohammad Ridoy and Yeasin Arafat --  who featured in the recently concluded SAFF Championship, is likely to get the nod for the final 23-member squad.

 Whereas,  Defenders Shushanta Tripura, Yeasin Khan, Mohammad Atiquzzaman, Mehedi Hasan, midfielder Masuk Mia Johnny and forward Mehedi Hasan Royal have been recalled in the preliminary squad for the upcoming tournament after missing out on the SAFF Championship.

"It's going to be a tough tournament [Four Nations] but we have to try to win every game and secure maximum points and if we can do that, we have a chance [to play the final],"  Lemos concluded.


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