Bangladesh is gearing up for its first continental hockey event in 32 years, the Hero 10th Men’s Asia Cup, which will be held at the Maulana Bhashani National Hockey Stadium from October 11 to 22.
The top eight teams of Asia – South Korea, India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Japan, China, Oman and Bangladesh – will participate in the competition and all matches will be telecast live on Star Network channels, Bangladesh Hockey Federation announced on Monday.
Bangladesh hosted the tournament only once in the past in 1985 on the grass surface at the erstwhile Dhaka Stadium, currently known as the Bangabandhu National Stadium.
The first ever Asia Cup in Bangladesh had generated tremendous amount of interest among the local fans about the game with Bangladesh national team finishing sixth ahead of some other top teams.
They defeated Iran, drew against China and Japan and a narrowly suffered a loss against eventual champions Pakistan and all those performances have brought a kind of revolution in local hockey.
Due to continuous bickering among the officials, Bangladesh failed to cash in on that interest, leaving a frustrating scenario in what is essentially regarded as the third-most popular team sport of the country.
‘The last time when we hosted this event, the galleries of the stadium were full with people,’ Bangladesh Hockey Federation general secretary Abdus Sadeque said at a press conference on Monday.
‘Unfortunately people have lost that interest for various reasons. But we hope this tournament will once again create some buzz.’
Tournament committee secretary Mamunur Rashid said they are at the final stage of preparation and would hand over the venue to Asian Hockey Federation by October 8.
‘The floodlights have already been installed while the giant screen, which will project the score as well as live broadcast, will be completed within two to three days. We will try to finish the other things within that time too,’ said Mamunur.
Teams will start arriving on October 8 while the Bangladesh team, which is currently in a camp at the BKSP, will come to Dhaka today.
They are likely play a 40-minute practice match against Japan on either 8 or 9 October.
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