Sports, Football

Booters reach Kuwait for Palestine match

Published : 18 Mar 2024 09:29 PM

Bangladesh national football team reached Kuwait from Saudi Arabia on Sunday ahead of their FIFA World Cup 2026 and AFC Asian Cup 2027 qualifiers away match against Palestine. The match will take place at Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium, Kuwait, on March 21.

The Palestine team, FIFA-ranked 97, is more powerful and stronger than Bangladesh. The men in red and green are 183 in the FIFA ranking. 

Head coach Javier Cabrera said that the two-week conditioning camp in Taif city was very useful for preparation before facing the higher-ranked Palestine side.

“It was a great experience, and I'm glad to have had the opportunity to come here. It’s been the perfect time and facility to develop the ideas we had prepared before coming here,” the Spanish coach said before leaving the Saudi Arabian city on Sunday.

“This two-week camp has been a great help for the team. Everything has been great—the hotel, hospitality, food, facilities, especially the gym, which was also quite good for us. Having the chance to play against Sudan was huge for us,” he added.

Under Cabrera’s charge, Bangladesh played a couple of closed-door practice matches against Sudan during their stay in Taif, where he fielded almost all squad members.

The team trained at King Fahad Sports City during the camp and held their last practice session at ground 1, which focused on tactics.

“The last session was more tactical before going to Kuwait. It was a very important session to sum up the whole two weeks we have been here.”

Versatile defender Saad Uddin has been dealing with minor injuries, but Cabrera said the full-back’s condition has improved. Overall, the tactician was content with the whole squad. “We have had a lot of new and young players introduced to our philosophy. They have responded very well. It’s very positive to have the whole squad ready.”

Bangladesh, however, will be missing the services of center-back Tariq Raihan Kazi and young forward Sheikh Morsalin due to injuries.

Topu Barman has returned from suspension to fill the void left by Tariq, but finding a replacement for Morsalin up front will be something interesting to look forward to during the Palestine match.

Amer Khan, the manager of the national team, is optimistic about Bangladesh's chances against a formidable Palestine team, provided the players maintain focus and avoid distractions such as disputes with officials or errors on the field. He emphasized the importance of concentration for a strong showing against Palestine.

Additionally, Amer mentioned that the team had a rest day and the coaches reviewed footage from the practice matches to prepare further.

Earlier, Bangladesh played two World Cup Qualifier matches against Australia and Lebanon. Jzamal Bhuyan suffered a 0-7 goals defeat against hosts Australia at AAMI Park, Melbourne, on November 16, 2023, and drew 1-1 with Lebanon in their home match at Bashundhara Kings Arena Stadium, Dhaka, on November 21 of the same year.