Footballers train in Qatar for 1st time

Staff Correspondent | Published: 22:33, Nov 22,2020


Bangladesh national team players listen to assistant coach Stuart Watkiss (C) during a training session at the Al Aziziyah Boutique ground in Doha, Qatar on Sunday. — BFF photo

Coronavirus and injury-hit Bangladesh national football team had their first on-field training session in Qatar on Sunday after their three-day mandatory quarantine ended at the Al Aziziyah Boutique ground in Doha.

Bangladesh team was isolating at their hotel since arriving in Doha on Wednesday and after completing their quarantine they underwent a 90-minute training session on the field ahead of their 2022 FIFA World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup joint Qualifier second-leg match against the hosts on December 4.

The players were seen in a cheerful mood during the outdoor training session on the video footages sent by the Bangladesh Football Federation.

This was the first time that the players touched the ball since their second international friendly match against Nepal on November 17 in Dhaka, after which they had to get tested for the virus and start last minute preparations for the Qatar trip.

‘All of us are doing good. We are all delighted to have the first training session in Qatar and for getting to use their improved facilities. If we can avail all facilities here and stay in shape, then I believe we can produce good results,’ said goalkeeper Ashraful Islam Rana in a video message.

Assistant coach Stuart Watkiss conducted the training session in the absence of head coach Jamie Day, who is currently in Dhaka due to a COVID-19 infection, and was happy to return to the field after a short break.

‘Today [Sunday] we have done a real football session since we came here in Qatar. It is very nice to get back on the grass and enjoyed the day outside the hotel,’ said Watkiss.

‘We had a good 90-minute session today[Sunday] with lots of work on the ball, lots of passing, lots of movements. Everyone practiced with the ball in the last 30 minutes,’ he added.

Bangladesh are due to take on amateur side Qatar Army on November 25 and second division side Lusail Sports Club on November 28 in their two practice matches.

Earlier, Bangladesh left for Qatar without forward Nabib Newaz Jibon, defender SM Monjurur Rahman Manik and head coach Day.

Jibon was ruled out due to a knee injury he suffered in Bangladesh’s second friendly match against Nepal while Manik joined Day in the COVID-19 infected list hours before the team took flight.

BFF was hoping to send both Day and Manik as soon as they recover but the English coach tested positive for a third time on Saturday.

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