Vol. 5 Num 942 Mon. January 22, 2007  

Kabaddi team fly today for WC

Former national kabaddi captain Badshah Mia has been brought back from retirement to represent Bangladesh in the second Kabaddi World Cup to be held in India from January 24.

Although the Bangladesh Kabaddi Federation (BKF) had finalised the squad as early as the first week of January, veteran Badshah was a last-moment inclusion in the squad which leave Dhaka today.

Kabaddi legend Badshah announced his retirement in December after the Asian Games but he will replace injured Yunus Mia in the 14-member squad including ten players. Badshah, however, will depart by road due to this late development while the team fly.

The state of Maharashtra will host the four-day event with 16 teams participating in four groups. Defending champions India also hosted the first World Cup in New Delhi in 2004 where Bangladesh were eliminated by Iran from the semifinals.

Coach Abdul Jalil targets at least a semifinal berth for the under prepared side, which had to train on taekwondo mat.

Although the federation received the fund to buy synthetic mat for its court at the Outer Stadium from the government last year, the BKF has yet to provide the mat for its players, who had to remain satisfied with bronze medals in the 10th South Asian Games and the Asian Games last year.

Jalil told that playing in two international meets, the SA Games and the Asiad, recently will boost the team's confidence.

"If we can avoid India in the knockout phase, we hope to reach the final. And we are confident that we will beat Pakistan this time," said Jalil.

Bangladesh lost to eventual silver medallists Pakistan in both the Games while India are the undisputed king of the game.

"We could have said more had we known the draw," the coach added.

The participating teams: Canada, West Indies, Australia, Germany, England, Kazakhstan, Iran, Thailand, Japan, Nepal, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Malaysia, Bangladesh and India.

Ziaur Rahman (captain), Mojammel Haque, Mosharraf Hossain, Abu Musa, Abdur Rouf, Kamal Hossain, Raju Ahmed, Al Mamun, Tariqul Islam and Badshah Mia.