Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Messi to lead team in Dhaka

Want-away Manchester City striker Carlos Tevez was on Friday dropped from the Argentina squad for friendly games against Venezuela and Nigeria by new coach Alejandro Sabella but magical striker Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain and Sergio Aguero have been included in the friendly squads.
The former world champions, to be captained by Messi, will play against Venezuela in Kolkata on September 2 followed by the second friendly against Nigeria on September 6 in Dhaka.
Tevez is reportedly seeking to leave City and was one of three players cut from Argentina’s Copa America squad by Sabella, alongside Inter Milan veteran Javier Zanetti and Real Madrid holding midfielder Fernando Gago while Malaga centre-back Martin Demichelis and Marseille playmaker Lucho Gonzalez were both recalled, according to a report from AFP.
Meanwhile, the Argentinean inspection team has already arrived in Kolkata on Thursday and inspected the practice venue, hotel and security measures taken by India but they were seemingly unhappy to see Mohan Bagan’s uneven pitch with long grass. They subsequently took notes, clicked photos and were seen having a brief discussion among themselves and later with the club officials and the organisers, according to reports published by different Kolkata-based newspapers.
The team was scheduled to go for an official assessment of the Salt Lake Stadium yesterday as the inspection team comprised Argentina assistant coach Camino, Alberto Oscar Pernas, a technical committee member of Argentina Football Association (AFA) and Rodrigo Martin Bauso.
Newspapers said that the inspection team would take all notes and send it to the AFA for the final decision.
“If Messi sustains injury having practiced in such ground [Mohan Bagan], I will be slaughtered,” Anandabarzar quoted Camino as saying. Camino was surprised not to see an ice bathtub at the practice venue and asked the authority concerned to arrange alternative of an ice bathtub.
Such comment from Camino added worries to the Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) officials, who believe the inspection team would reject the practice venue of the Birshreshtha Shaheed Mostafa Kamal Stadium (BSMKS).
“The ground of Mohan Bagan is a better pitch as far as I know and if they expressed their dissatisfaction about Mohan Bagan ground, than they will reject our practice venue,” said Fazlur Rahman Babul, chairman of BFF ground committee.
Meanwhile, the playground at BSMKS has ankle-deep clay in some places and the initiative has been taken to make it fit for practice while the renovation of dressing rooms at the Bangabandhu National Stadium is still on-going.
“If they don’t choose the practice venue, then we will arrange their practice in the main venue of BNS but there is no possibility to cancel the match,” said Anwarul Haq Helal, chairman of the organising committee.
BFF vice president Badal Roy also expressed his frustration over the dilemma of preparing both BSMKS and BNS.
“Actually none of us could realise the importance of the Argentina-Nigeria match,” said Roy, who is also chairman of security committee of Argentina-Nigeria match.
However, it has been learnt that the BFF is trying to hold emergency meetings with the Bangladesh Cricket Board, who has already denied allotting the Fatullah Stadium for the practice session for one day, to gain permission to hold the practice session in a bid to save the image of the country.
If the BCB permits to hold the practice session at the Fatullah Stadium, the BFF will take the inspection team to the Fatullah Stadium and try to make the Argentinean inspection team to practise there as all facilities are there except the cricket pitch in the middle of the ground.
The arrival of the six-member inspection team has been deferred by one day and they will now arrive at the capital from Kolkata on August 21 instead of 20.

-With The Daily Star input

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