AFC Challenge Cup Bangladesh Team Preview

Posted on 23 April 2009 by FootballFan

Emily Zahid from Bangladesh Football Team

Emily Zahid from Bangladesh Football Team

National football coach Edson Silva Dido on Friday named a 23-member squad for the AFC Challenge Cup Group A qualifiers starting on April 26.

Dido omitted two players, midfielder Pranatosh and defender Ariful, from the 25-member preliminary squad and opted for his forward duo Robin and Emily along with attacking midfielder Zahid Hossain, who are yet to gain full match-fitness.

Assistant coach Shafiqul Islam Manik, however, is hopeful of playing the trio in the matches. ‘Robin has already played a practice match today (Friday), Zahid and Emily look almost fit and we have included them with the hope that they will be fully fit before the second match, if not the first,’ said Manik.

Reliable goalkeeper Aminul Haque will lead the team. Mazharul Haque Himel, the third-choice keeper, was the surprise inclusion in the squad.

Two key attackers, Emily and Robin, were given rest by physio Dalilur Rahman in order to save them from aggravating their injuries when Bangladesh went to Nepal to play a warm-up match. Robin suffered a knee problem, Emily had a hamstring strain and midfielder Zahid Hossain picked up an ankle injury. All of them have recovered fully but only Robin is likely to play. Bangladesh shot-stoppers Aminul and Biplob are the reliable names under the bar and Rajani, Shujon, Wali Faisal, Shaikat, Nasir, Mishu, Rashed and Mamun Miah form the strongest defence line.

The midfield comprising Mamun, Sharif, Motiur Munna, Arman Aziz, Zahed Parvez Chowdhury, Emon and youngster Manik possess the attacking flair as well as the defensive proficiency.

Emily, undoubtedly the number one striker of the country, and Robin both were struggling to regain fitness and if they pass fitness tests Dido will have the lively attack as he desires. Enamul Huq and Mithun Chowdhury, the other two forwards, are relatively inexperienced.

Bangladesh will compete with Myanmar, Cambodia and Macau from April 26-30 for a place in the eight-team finals. Bangladesh hosted the inaugural AFC Challenge Cup in 2006 and were eliminated from the quarter-finals by eventual winners Tajikistan. They failed to qualify for the finals in the second edition when India lifted the title.

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