The six-nation Bangabandhu International Gold Cup football, organised on the occasion of the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, begins here on Wednesday.
Defending champions Palestine will take on hosts Bangladesh in the opening match of the first international sports meet on the eve of the ‘Mujib Borsho’ at the country’s premier sports venue -- Bangabandhu National Stadium -- at 5pm.
Throughout the ‘Mujib Borsho’ from March 17, 2020 to March 26, 2021, some 100 sports events will be organized.
Law Minister M Anisul Huq will be the chief guest at the inaugural ceremony. State Minister for Youth and Sports Zahid Ahsan Russel will be present as a special guest.
State-owned Bangladesh Television and Rtv will telecast the match live while Bangladesh Betar will broadcast the running commentary.
Hosts Bangladesh, placed in Group A with Palestine and Sri Lanka, will take on Sri Lanka on January 19 at the same time and same venue while Group B team comprises three African countries -- Burundi, Mauritius and Seychelles.
Burundi will play Mauritius in the first Group B match on January 16 at 5pm at Bangabandhu National Stadium.
Two top teams from each of the groups will play in the semifinals. The Group A champions will play Group B runners-up in the first semifinal on January 22 while Group B champions will face Group A runners-up in the other semis on January 23, both at 5pm at the same venue.
The title-deciding final will be held on January 25, also at 5pm at the same venue.
Ahead of the tough opening match, Bangladesh Head Coach Jamie Day on Tuesday said they can avoid the defeat against upper-ranked Palestine if they perform the way they did against India and Qatar in the FIFA, AFC joint qualifiers.
“We played well against India and Qatar. If we do the same against Palestine, then we’ll be able to avoid the defeat. But if we repeat the mistakes what we do in the 2nd half against Oman, then Palestine will get chances to score,” Jamie said in a pre-match press conference at Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) office.
“Palestine are the strong side and they have young legs as well as national players. But we’re looking forward to tomorrow’s match with confidence. We know we can play well. Scoring is the main issue. But we have to take our chances,” the head coach added.
About the preparations, Jamie said they have trained well. Striker Ziban and defender Badsha will miss the tournament as they are sick, but other players are fine.
Bangladesh captain Jamal Bhuiyan said, “Some of our players failed to give their best in the last South Asian Games in Nepal. It’s a good opportunity for them to rectify those mistakes as well as to prove their worth.”
As the team will miss the services of Ziban and Badsha, he said many new players come to the squad and they can do well.
Bangladesh suffered a blow just before the meet as their two key players centre back Tutul Hossain Badsha and forward Nabib Newaz Ziban were ruled out of the tournament due to fever.
Defender Monjurur Rahman has been included in place of Badsha while Saif SC midfielder Foysal Ahmed Fahim is the other replacement.
Palestine Head Coach Makram Daboub said they came here to retain their title.
“Last year we got the title, and now we came again to retain the title. Other teams are also good, all of them have the same chances of winning,” he said.
“We have 10 best young players in the squad that played in our local leagues. We picked up seven players from Palestine Under-23 team and seven others from FIFA World Cup Qualifiers squad. Those local players will play their maiden international match here. We believe they’ll do well,” Makram added.
Bangladesh never clinched title of the Bangabandhu Gold Cup. They finished runners-up in 2015 conceding 3-2 goals defeat against Malaysia in the final, which is their highest achievement.
On the other hand, Palestine emerged unbeaten champions in the last edition of the meet in 2018 beating Tajikistan by 4-3 goals in the tie-breaker.
Ahead of the tournament, BFF President Kazi Mohammad Salahuddin at a function on Sunday announced a bonus US $100,000 if the Bangladesh team clinch the Bangabandhu Gold Cup title. If they end up as runners-up, Bangladesh team will get US $50,000.
The 23-member Bangladesh squad: Shahidul Alam Sohel, Ashraful Islam Rana, Anisur Rahman, Topu Barman, Sushanto Tripura, Yeasin Khan, Rahmat Mia, Rayhan Hasan, Riyadul Hasan, Monjurur Rahman Manik, Rabiul Hasan, Saad Uddin, Mamunul Islam Mamun, Jamal Bhuiyan, Sohel Rana, Manik Hossain Mollah, Mahbubur Rahman Sufil, Towhidul Alam Sabuz, Mohammad Ibrahim, Motin Miah, Foysal Ahmed Fahim, Arifur Rahman, Rakib Hossain.
Bangladesh National Football team are suffering from serious injury problems just before the six-team Bangabandhu International Gold Cup that gets underway Wednesday at Bangabandhu National Stadium here.
Center back Tutul Hossain Badsha and reliable forward Nabib Newaz Ziban ruled out of the team due to fever. Ziban is suffering from fever for last few days while Badsha left the camp with fever on Sunday.
Chattogram Abahani defender Monjurur Rahman has been included in the place of Badsha while Saif SC midfielder Foysal Ahmed Fahim included in the team another replacement.
Dhaka Abahani-booter-cum former national captain Mamunul Islam Mamun is recovering from muscle injury, but he is still uncertain about making the first eleven.
Mamun got the injury during a training session at the Bir Shreshtha Shaheed Shipahi Mohammad Mustafa Kamal Stadium in Kamalapur recently.
In this situation, Bangladesh Head Coach Jamie Day said, “We have lost some of our key players, we have to deal with the situation, but the remaining members of the team are well prepared.”
“We included young Fahim [Foysal Ahmed Fahim] in the team as he has some experience. We have got our playing eleven, but you have to wait till January 15.” Jamie added.
Reigning champions Palestine and African nation Mauritius arrived Dhaka on Monday to participate in the upcoming six-nation Bangabandhu International Gold Cup Football Tournament beginning on Wednesday (Jan 15) at the Bangabandhu National Stadium here.
The West Asian side Palestine arrived at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka at 11 am while Mauritius team landed the airport at 2:45 pm. Both national teams consist of 29 members.
The Islanders Sri Lanka will reach the capital on Tuesday (January 14) at 11:30 am while another African nation Burundi will be here at 12:20 pm on the same day. The remaining African team Seychelles will arrive here on Thursday (January 16) at 10 am, a day after the meet’s started.
About their target, Palestine Team Manager Jaber Jaarrin said, “We are the defending champions, we came here again to return home with the trophy. It’ll also be a preparatory tournament for us for the FIFA World Cup’2022 Qualifiers against Singapore in next March.”
Striker of the holders Palestine Tahir Jbbuir echoed the voice of his team manager and said, “We came here to be the champions, there are some players in our team who played in the last Bangabandhu Gold Cup in Dhaka. So, we have good ideas about hosts Bangladesh team.”
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.
In the last edition of the BB Gold Cup in 2018, Palestine emerged unbeaten champions beating Tajikistan by 4-3 goals in the tie-breaker. On their way to final, the West Asian nation beat Tajikistan by 2-0 goals and Nepal by 1-0 goal in the group stage. They maintained their winning streak beating hosts Bangladesh by 2-0 goals in the semifinal.
Brazil legend Pele, real name Edson Arantes do Nascimento, the only man to have won the World Cup of football thrice (1958, 1962, 1970) and widely acknowledged as one of the two greatest footballers of all time –FIFA rated him as number 1, ahead of Maradona - muimay visit Dhaka later this month, possibly coinciding with the Bangabandhu International Gold Cup to be held January 15-25 here.
An initiative inspired by this year’s designation as ‘Mujib Borsho' to honor the contribution of the Swadhin Bangla Football team in the Liberation war of Bangladesh. Moreover, it is anticipated that Pele will witness a 2 (two) days program named “100 years, Father of the nation”.
Masud Jamil Khan, Co-Founder of the Cholo Kheli Trust is maintaining close touch with authority concerned to bring Pele, popularly known as the “Black Pearl”, to Bangladesh aiming to regain the games past glory and as well as to awake up the tradition of football in Bangladesh.
Meanwhile, the CEO of the official sponsor of the upcoming Bangabandhu International Gold Cup Football K-SPORTS, Fahad Karim also told UNB that they will assure the matter by Monday evening.
CEO of K-SPORTS said “We have talked with the FIFA Legends, a FIFA organization that worked to bring former world class men’s and women’s players and coaches from various countries to promote and support football globally.
“We have given them three choices of nation: Brazil, Spain and Italy. We are expecting Brazilian Stars,” Fahad added.
“We will assure the name of the world-cupper Monday evening. And we are expecting him ahead of the semis (of the BB Gold Cup),” the CEO added.
Earlier, Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) and K-SPORTS entered a partnership to generate enthusiasm and drive engagement of football lovers during the Bangabandhu Gold Cup. Accordingly they are working with a shortlist of legendary football names whose presence during the Gold Cup can raise its profile and help BFF achieve its marketing goals.
Failing in case to net star Ronaldinho, Italian defender Paolo Maldini were in the priority list.
Pele’s only previous visit to the Indian subcontinent was in 1977 with MLS side New York Cosmos, to play an exhibition game against Mohun Bagan in Kolkata. Ever since capturing the world’s attention as a precocious 17-year-old during the 1958 World Cup held in Sweden, he has enjoyed immense popularity in the football-mad region.
Brazil and Argentina remain the most popular sides among the people, leading to entire streets and neighbourhoods bedecked in the two countries’ flags every four years during the World Cup. As the talisman of Brazil, Pele’s individual popularity is likely to last
Argentinian midfielder Leonardo Suarez has joined Club America after parting ways with Spain's Villarreal, the Mexican first division outfit said on Sunday.
"Leonardo Suarez, an attacking midfielder, is our new signing for the 2020 Clausura [tournament]," America said in a Twitter post.
Suarez, a former Argentina youth international, made just eight first-team appearances for Villarreal following his January 2015 move from Boca Juniors.
Over the past two years, the 23-year-old has had loan spells at Real Valladolid and Real Mallorca.
Club America will begin their Liga MX Clausura campaign with a home fixture against Tigres UANL on January 18.