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The year of challenges, opportunities for young booters

  • Published at 04:14 pm January 1st, 2019
Bangladesh coach Jamie Day conducts training Dhaka Tribune/Md Manik

The year 2019 would see the men in red and green return to World Cup qualifying stage, but there will not be any more international tournaments with the exception of the Bangabandhu Gold Cup in the last quarter of the year

The local footballers will step into new-year boots in the top-flight league this month, keeping in mind the need to impress English head coach Jamie Day, ahead of the national team’s assignments in the second half of the year. 

Along with that, there will be a lot more youth tournaments this year that will test the prowess of the young footballers.

Since the disappointing exit from the 2018 World Cup pre-qualifiers in 2016, Bangladesh spent the whole of 2017 without playing a single match. 

Year 2018 brought the national team back in contention with two crucial tournaments in the form of the Saff Championship and the Bangabandhu Gold Cup, followed by the Olympic team’s historic achievement in the Asian Games.

The year 2019 would see the men in red and green return to World Cup qualifying stage, but there will not be any more international tournaments with the exception of the Bangabandhu Gold Cup in the last quarter of the year.

However, the schedules of those tournaments are yet to be finalised. 

But Day has been eyeing to utilize the Fifa international window to improve their ranking. The national team tactician commented on this regard, “We will hopefully have all the international (friendly) windows covered, that’s our aim.” 

The U-23 booters from the Asiad squad impressed Day the most since his appointment last year, and most of them also represented the senior side later. 

This group of players will raise the curtains this year too with the AFC U-23 Championship 2020 qualifiers this March when they play against host Bahrain, favourite Palestine and Sri Lanka. 

These players are likely to represent Bangladesh in the South Asian Games, but the date has not been finalised yet.

There is however, no shortage of events for the last year’s Saff U-15 champion booters. The new edition of the Saff U-15 Championship is likely to be held in August before the AFC U-16 Championship qualifiers in September. 

The top performers from this two events may get a place in the Saff U-18 Championship, and the AFC U-19 Championship qualifiers in October.

Day said about the future stars, “Looking forward to the youth tournaments. It gives a chance to see the younger generation play, and see where we stand against other countries.”

The BFF general secretary Abu Nayeem Shohag elaborated about their plan with the youth teams. 

“We are working to provide long-term training and accommodation facilities to 60-70 young booters, including the Saff U-15 champion for two-three years,” said Shohag before adding, “We already visited some sites and may come to a final decision soon by February. Both the camp and tournaments will continue with the new faces replacing the older ones according to performance.”

Bangladesh’s international fixtures in 2019

AFC U-23 Championship 2020 qualifiers (March)

Saff U-15 Championship (August)

AFC U-16 Championship 2020 qualifiers (September)

Saff U-18 Championship (September)

AFC U-19 Championship 2020 qualifiers (October)

Fixtures yet to be finalised: Bangabandhu Gold Cup, Fifa 2022 World Cup pre-qualifiers and South Asian Games 2019

National team in 2018

Played - 8, W- 3, L- 4, D- 1

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