Reigning champions Palestine will be the first team to arrive at Dhaka on Monday to take part in the six-nation Bangabandhu International Gold Cup Football Tournament beginning on Wednesday (January 15) at the Bangabandhu National Stadium here.
The Palestine team is expected to arrive at 11:10 am while another participating team Mauritius is expected to reach here on the same day at 2:45 pm.
A media official of Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) said Palestine and the other participating countries have already sent the list of their national teams for Bangabandhu International Gold Cup and all the participating teams will stay in the Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel.
Sri Lanka will arrive here on Tuesday (January 14) at 11:30 am while another African team Burundi will reach the capital on the same day at 12:20 pm.
The other participating team Seychelles will arrive here on Thursday (January 16) at 10 am, a day after the tournament begins.
Earlier, hosts Bangladesh was placed in a tough group along with Palestine and Sri Lanka. They will face the holders Palestine in the opening match on January 15 at 5pm at the country’s premier sports venue—Bangabandhu National Stadium eyeing a draw.
In the second match, the red and green boys will take on Sri Lanka on January 19 at the same time and same venue.
The Group B team comprises of Burundi, Mauritius and Seychelles. Burundi will play Mauritius in the first Group B match on January 16 at 5:pm at Bangabandhu National Stadium.
Two top teams from each of the group will play in the semi-finals -- Group A champions will play Group B runners-up in the first semi-final on January 22 while Group B champions will face Group A runners-up in the other match on January 23, both at 5 pm at the same venue.
The final match will be held on January 25, also at 5 pm.
Ahead of the tournament, BFF President Kazi Mohammad Salahuddin at a function on Sunday announced a bonus US $100,000 if the Bangladesh team clinches the Bangabandhu Gold Cup title. In case they end up as runners-up, Bangladesh team will get US $50,000.
Bangladesh National Football team started a seven-day residential camp from Wednesday. BFF announced a 23-member squad for the meet but twenty-two booters are taking part in the practice sessions under the Head Coach Jamie Day with a target of reaching the semi-finals. Dhaka Abahani forward Nabib Newaz Ziban was ruled out from the squad as he was suffering from fever just a few days before the camp.
In the last edition of the tournament in 2018, Palestine emerged as the unbeaten champions beating Tajikistan by 4-3 goals in the tie-breaker.
Bangladesh finished runners-up in 2015 conceding a 3-2 defeat against Malaysia in the final.
The Bangabandhu International Gold Cup Football is one the prestigious soccer tournaments organized by BFF from 1996. The federation is paying tribute to the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman through the tournament.
Banglabandhu Gold Cup Football will be the first major event to celebrate the ‘Mujib Borsho’ from March 17, 2020 to March 26, 2021 across the country to mark the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.