National booters believe that the increased competition in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) will foster a fighting attitude that will help them in the AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers, as the residential camp of the national team got underway at the BFF artificial turf yesterday.
The title race of the sixth edition of the professional football league is mainly confined to three teams – Abahani, Sheikh Russel and Sheikh Jamal KC. And 23 players out of the preliminary 33-member squad came from these three teams.
“To be truth, the fighting attitude of the players has increased due to the nature of the ongoing football league and I am sure you will see that reflection in our international matches,” said Abahani midfielder Pranotosh Kumar Das on the verge of the training.
Pranotosh said that they have shifted their focus to the AFC Challenge Cup from the Bangladesh Premier League.
“ If you look back to our (Sheikh Russel) league matches, we fought back from behind on a few occasions and even won the game scoring in the dying moments and it was possible because of the fighting tendency of the players,” said Sheikh Russel midfielder Mamunul Islam. “Besides, the temperament, stamina and understating between players have increased a lot due to the competitive league.”
Mamunul said that all their players have put the sights on the AFC Challenge Cup from the professional football league and all are determined to bring some good results for the nation.
Defender Atiqur Rahman Meshu believes the overall standard of country's football has improved thus the standard of the local footballers have also increased.
“We are taking the AFC Challenge Cup seriously as the football federation has already declared it as part of vision 2012,” said Abahani defender Meshu.
However, Bangladesh's mission to the AFC Challenge Cup may get a jolt even before they travel to Nepal on February 25. Goalkeeper Mustakur Rahman and defender Rezaul Karim have already been ruled out due to their injuries while striker Zahid Hasan Emily, wingers Zahid Hossain and Shakil Ahmed, defender Mohammad Sujan have been suffering from different injures.
Physio Doliur Rahman said that Shakil and Zahid have been recovering from their injuries and the condition of Emily and Sujan would be known after the medical tests.
Syed Golam Jilani along with goalkeeping coach Atiqur Rahman had conducted the first day of the training as Dutch coaches Lodewijk de Kruif and Rene Koster are scheduled to arrive here on Friday to take charge of the national side.