Bangladesh national hockey team claimed on Thursday that they were ready to give their best in the forthcoming 10th Men’s Asia Cup Hockey, scheduled to be held in Dhaka from October 11-22.
After a two-week long residential training camp at the BKSP, the men in Red and Green returned to the capital on Wednesday for their last-minute preparation at the tournament venue — Maulana Bhashani National Hockey Stadium.
With only six days to go before the tournament, Bangladesh coach Mahbub Harun and captain Russell Mahmud Jimmy both expressed their confidence of playing competitive hockey while speaking to media on Thursday.
‘We are ready for the tournament,’ said Harun, who has been in charge of the team for the last three months. ‘We had a three-week long residential camp at the BKSP, where we mostly worked with the game plan and tried to motivate the players’ mentally.’
Bangladesh began their preparation camp for the Asia’s biggest hockey meet on July 6 under the tutelage of Harurn, who made no attempt to set an unrealistic goal for the team.
‘Our main target will be our position in the rankings as we are going to play as the eighth-ranked team in the eight-nation tournament,’ he said.
‘Even though we have to face three Asian giants Pakistan, India and Japan in the group stage, I told the players not to give up before the match. We want to offer our mighty opponents some great challenge.’
Bangladesh will begin their campaign against Pakistan on the opening day before facing India and Japan respectively on October 13 and 15.
The hosts will wrap-up their preparations with a warm-up match against their group rivals Japan.
It will be the only warm-up match for Bangladesh before the tournament though coach Harun was not too much concerned about it.
‘We will play a 40 minutes warm-up game against Japan on October 8. Though they are our group rivals, we will not show our main strategy in the match,’ he said.
Team captain Jimmy, who is also the main weapon of the team in the attacking third, hoped that their all efforts would be successful if they could perform well in the field.
‘I told my team-mates that we have to perform in the field. We played really well against some stronger opponents in the last few tournaments even though we lost. Now, our target is to play competitive games, whoever our opponents are.’
Jimmy added that they were also taking inspiration from their predecessors, who produced some fine performances in the second edition of Asia Cup at home in 1985.
‘We got huge inspiration from our former national team, who played great hockey 32 years ago,’ he said.
‘Now it’s our turn. We also want to put such great performance that would inspire the young generation.’
Before the press conference, Bangladesh Hockey Federation president Air staff Marshal Abu Esrar unveiled the jersey of the home team.
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