Dutchman Lodewijk de Kruif agreed to join as the new head coach of the Bangladesh national football team after a gruelling six-hour negotiation with the Bangladesh Football Federation on Saturday.
Kruif and his assistant Rene Koster have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the BFF in the afternoon to take up the national team duties in July after the expiration of their current contract back in the Netherlands.
Although their two-year agreement will start in July, two months before Bangladesh’s SAFF Championship campaign in Nepal, the coaches will come to Dhaka on February 20 for three weeks to train Bangladesh for the AFC Challenge Cup in March.
‘We had to face a lot of obstacles because of certain flaws in the agreements of our previous coaches. So we tried to make this one flawless and incorporate every small details including dress code, holiday patterns, bonus policy, media engagement and so on,’ BFF president Kazi Salahuddin told reporters.
‘The coaches will join in July for two years but I have invited them to take care of the national team at the AFC Challenge Cup as well.
‘Now, after returning to their current club in the Netherlands they will inform us how they will act in the tournament, whether on loan or in any other form,’ said Salahuddin.
The 43-year-old Lodewijk, who never had the experience of guiding a national team in his 16-year coaching career, said that he was very happy with the details of the agreement and will work hard to help Bangladesh achieve their goal.
‘I am very happy with the contract and now my job will be to help Bangladesh to achieve their goal,’ Lodewijk said. ‘We have a lot of plans and ideas and now we will try our best to implement those. We are young and adequately educated. I believe we will be able to help you.’
Bangladesh is now working with the aim to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar and one of the biggest steps towards achieving that goal is to launch the BFF academy.
Lodewijk’s assistant Rene will look after the academy as an additional job.
Rene, however, said it is not impossible to fulfil ‘Vision 2022’, though it has been dubbed as an overambitious goal by many.
‘The destination is not out of reach but the main problem in this country is you start late,’ he said.
‘The players start playing at the age of 15 or 16 here which is nearly seven or eight years too late. I have talked about this with the BFF and they assured me to help change this trend,’ said Rene.
-With New Age input