In his first game in charge against Pakistan, Bangladesh national team coach Nikola Ilievski had no choice but to stick with the squad that was entrusted to him. But ahead of their second World Cup qualifier against Lebanon, the 56-year old Macedonian brought in a number of changes based on his viewings of the ongoing Grameenphone Super Cup.
Ilievski picked seven new players and excluded eight from the original squad that played in a 3-0 home win and a goalless away draw against Pakistan. And his 22-member squad will start training at the BKSP from today for their July 23 away and July 28 home matches against Lebanon.
The new inclusions are striker Touhidul Alam, who scored from a set-piece for Mohammedan in their 1-1 draw against Sheikh Russel, Abahani goalkeeper Ziaur Rahman, Sheikh Jamal defenders Mohammad Sujan, Wali Faisal, Abahani hitman Mohammad Robin and midfielder Pranotosh Kumar and Mohammedan forward Shafiqul Islam Bipul.
Among the new inclusion, Zia, Sujan, Wali, Robin and Pranotosh have experience of playing for the national side while Touhid and Bipul have been called up for the first time.
However, there were no remarkable exclusions as the players left out, goalkeeper Nehal, defenders Yeamin Munna, Yousuf Ali and Uttam Kumar Bonik, midfielder Maruf Ahmed, forwards Mohammad Yousuf, Sohel Rana and Shakawat Hossain Rony, did not feature in any of the games against Pakistan.
Ilievski was impressed with the players that he picked and particularly singled out defender Mohammad Sujan as a tough opponent and termed Robin a speedy striker.
He also believed that picking Pranotosh was the right choice as he played simple and distributed the ball well in the midfield, which has been a problem area in his squad.
There was much praise also for Mohammedan on-loan’s striker Touhid of Feni Soccer Club.
“He really played very well in the two games and scored one from a set-piece and he looks good in those situations,” said Ilievski during the interval of the Muktijoddha and Sheikh Russel match at the Bangabandhu Stadium yesterday.
“All the eight I chose are the best available performers in the tournament,” said the Macedonian coach whose side are scheduled to leave for Lebanon on the night of July 20.
Biplob Bhattacharjee, Mamun Khan, Ziaur Rahman (goalkeepers), Mamun Mia, Nasirul Islam, Wali Faisal, Ariful Islam, Mohammad Sujan, Rezaul Karim Reza, Ashraf Mahmud Linkon and Atiqur Rahman Meshu (defenders), Abdul Baten Komol, Mamunul Islam, Monaem Khan Raju, Zahid Hossain, Shakil Ahmed, Mohammad Robin and Pranotosh Kumar (midfielders) Zahid Hasan Emily, Mithun Chowdhury, Touhidul Alam and Shafiqul Islam Bipul (strikers).
-With The Daily Star input