The Bangladesh Football Federation has principally agreed terms with experienced Belgium coach Tom Saintfiet to sign him as the national coach for their forthcoming Asian Cup Qualifiers play-offs matches against Bhutan, said BFF officials of Tuesday. BFF also agreed to sign former New Zeeland technical director Paul Smalley as the team’s technical director.‘We have agreed in principle to rope in both Tom Saintfiet and Paul Smalley. Tom Saintfiet will initially work with the national team for the two Asian Cup Qualifiers play-offs against Bhutan’, said BFF general secretary Abu Nayeem Shohag.
‘He [Saintfiet] will come back in on late July. In the meantime, we will finalise the terms and conditions of the contract.’
Though Saintfiet is set to take charge of the national team, the country’s top local coaches believed that the high profile Belgian will struggle to improve the depth of the side as the country has the dearth of quality young players.
Saintfiet, who coached the Togo national team in his last assignment and also has the experience to work with African countries like Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Malawi, will be arguably the most high profile coach ever to manage Bangladesh.
With the just concluded Federation Cup, the top domestic coaches believe that there are some young players, who have performed well in the tournament, but none of them could show-case enough quality which would be enough for them to be picked for the national side.
Some of the big-budget clubs like Chittagong Abahani and Mohammedan SC have failed in the tournament while the clubs with small budgets like runners-up Arambagh KC, semi-finalists Team BJMC and Brothers Union, who have mixture of youth and experienced, got success.
‘To be honest, I did not see anyone exceptional in the Federation Cup. There are some players who performed well for their respective team’s but those performance can’t be considered for the national team,’ said Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club coach Shafiqul Islam Manik.
Sheikh Russelll Krira Chakra coach Maruful Haq also echoed the same with Manik.
‘If I compare between Abdullah and Mamunul Islam, then you see both are controlling the ball same way, running similarly but Mamun is ahead of Abdullah because of intelligence and experience,’ said the former national coach adding that, ‘ It needs more time to do something good with the fresh blood.’
Though Arambagh Krira Sangha coach Saiful Bari Titu was impressed with the performance of the young players still he was not ready to put them into the first team of Bangladesh national team at the moment.
‘Actually I could not find any player worthy of national team but definitely there were a few players to mention. But at the moment they are not ready for the national team because of their inexperience at international level,’ said Titu, whose youthful side put up a spirited show to become runners-up in the Federation Cup.
-With New Age input