Team BJMC forward Nabib Newaz Jibon is the only new face in the Bangladesh national football team as their new coach Fabio Lopez on Thursday announced his final 23-member squad for their World Cup qualifier against Kyrgyzstan. Bangladesh will leave Dhaka for Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan today to take part in their fifth World Cup qualifying match against the hosts on October 13.
The Italian left out seven regular players, who were part of the squad during the previous two matches against Australia and Jordan as most of them are suffering from injuries or illness.
Goalkeeper Mazharul Islam Hemel, defenders Wali Faisal and Rezaul Karim, midfielders Shahedul Alam Shahed and Faisal Mahmud and forward Shakhwat Hossain Rony joined newcomer Jibon, replacing the septet.
Veteran forward Zahid Hasan Ameli, midfielder Sohel Rana, defender Yeasin Khan, winger Zahid Hossain are among the players to miss the plane this time, but Lopez still oozed confidence with his new-look team.
‘My target is to only win the match,’ Lopez outlined his goal for October 13 match. ‘We won’t go there for a draw. I respect all of our opponents but I am not scared of them,’ he said at press a conference at the BFF house.
Lopez had full of admiration for his new inclusion Jibon, though he refused to compare him with veteran Ameli, the leading scorer for Bangladesh, who will miss a game for the first time in 10 years having diagnosed with a tumor in his abdomen.
‘Firstly, Ameli has some problems and he cannot come with us and I’m sure he will miss us equally,’ he said.
‘Secondly, Jibon is a totally different player so we cannot compare them. He has trained well, performed well. Sometimes in life we have to give chance to the people who perform.’
Lopez made some experiments in the warm-up match between national team and BFF selected XI, where he played forward Rony in midfield.
‘I don’t know what is experiment maybe it’s for you but for me I saw some players,’ said the coach.
‘I saw the skills of the players, I have my opinion about some of my players and I must use the players for the best of the team.
‘In the friendly match I have tried him [Rony] in a different position because I wanted to see the capacity of the players.
Rony, in 60 minutes, ran 6.4 km in the field like a Serie-A player and also increased power of the run so when a report like this comes up, it indicates this player can play in the midfield.’
Skipper Mamunul Islam found some notable changes in their approach under the new coach.
‘After his [Lopez] arrival, we have worked a lot on the defending line because we can easily go to attack but our defending line from midfield to the strikers is not maintained properly,’ said the midfielder.
‘Of course, there are some differences. We played attacking football against Kyrgyzstan at home but this time we will play counter and quick attacking football against them.’
Mamunul also claimed that he was trying to cope with his new playing position that the coach insisted him to take.
‘The coach believes I can score from my new position and assist others to score,’ said Mamunul.
‘In my previous position, the opponent players came close to marking me so when I lost the ball it helped the opponents to initiate attack.
‘Coach actually reduced my 80-90 per cent responsibility to 50 or 40 per cent.
‘We are learning from him. It will help the team as soon as we adopt his new system,’ added Mamunul.
Goalkeepers: Russell Mahmud Liton, Shahidul Alam Sohel, Mazharul Islam Hemel; Defenders: Rayhan Hasan, Topu Barman, Nasirul Islam Nasir, Yeamin Ahmed Chowdhury, Atiqur Rahman Meshu, Wali Faisal, Rezaul Karim; Midfielders: Hemanta Vincent Biswas, Jamal Bhuiyan, Mamunul Islam, Monayem Khan Raju, Shahedul Alam Shahed, Emon Mahmud Babu, Faisal Mahmud; Forwards: Jewel Rana, Toklis Ahmed, Aminur Rahman Sajib, Abdul Baten Majumder Komol, Shakhawat Hossain Rony, Nabib Newaj Jibon.
-With New Age input