Bashundhara Kings’ decision to withhold three of its players’ participation in the national team’s camp has forced Bangladesh coach Jamie Day to push back the announcement of the final 24-man squad for the remaining four matches of the FIFA World Cup 2022 and AFC Asian Cup 2023 qualifiers.
Day had originally hoped to name the squad in September but was now forced to push back the date to October after the Kings’ barred midfielders Masuk Mia Jonny, Atiqur Rahman Fahad and striker Matin Miah from joining the 36-man camp staring on August 7.
All three of the players had recently recovered from injury and Kings’ Spanish coach Oscar Bruzon wanted to reassess the fitness of the trio before allowing them to join the national team’s camp at the Sarah Resort in Gazipur.
A total of 14 players of the current Bangladesh Premier League champions were picked in the preliminary squad and the Kings’ have given clearance to the other 11 players to join the national camp.
Day, who is set to join the training on August 16, initially wanted to assess the players for two weeks at the camp and then announce the final squad in early September but now he has to alter his plans.
‘I can’t finalise the squad until October now as [we] only had this information regarding Kings players last few days [back],’ Day told New Age through WhatsApp from London on Tuesday.
‘We [will] speak to Oscar [Bruzon] and [if] he says they are fit then we can select them, if not then we don’t…that’s why we selected 36 players to start. I think, October is the time that suits everyone best going forward... Yes, I want to give maximum chances to all,’ Day added.
Out of the selected 36 players, 31 players will have to report to the Bangladesh Football Federation by August 7 in three separate phases before joining the camp, said a BFF media release on Tuesday.
A total of 12 players have been asked to report to BFF today, followed by another 12 on Thursday and seven on the next day with their COVID-19 test reports. Then they will go for further COVID-19 tests under BFF’s management.
Denmark-born Bangladesh team captain Jamal Bhuiyan and Finland-born defender Tariq Raihan Kazi, who got his first call-up to the national team camp, are now in their respective homes and are expected to join the camp in a suitable time.
‘Regarding Tariq and Jamal, obviously the countries that they are in at the moment, they are with travel restrictions… I spoke to both players. We will assess each week whether it’s right for them to come back,’ Day said.
Bangladesh will resume their FIFA-AFC qualifiers campaign against Afghanistan at home on October 8 at Sylhet District Stadium before playing two other home games against India and Oman respectively on November 12 and 17, which are also expected to be held at the same venue.
They will play reigning Asian Cup champions Qatar in Doha on October 13.
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