Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Messi still amiss

With only a week left for the scheduled FIFA friendly between Argentina and Nigeria in Dhaka, the football authorities here made little progress till yesterday in terms of the schedule of the two visiting high-profile teams. The Argentina team are expected to arrive here on September 3 while the Nigerians are scheduled to arrive two days later, with the marquee match slotted for September 6.
However, the despairing delay in confirmation of Argentina’s schedule in Dhaka has put BFF in further disarray as they are now more concerned with the team’s practice and security arrangements while the slack pace of ticket sales for the September 6 international has seemingly taken a back seat.
“The security officials are asking for the Argentina team’s schedule to make their plans regarding security arrangements, but we can’t provide them with any information as we are kept in the dark by the Celebrity Management Group despite continuous attempts from our end,” said Anwarul Haq Helal, chairman of the organising committee of the Argentina-Nigeria match.
Helal informed that the arrival of Argentina’s advance team in Kolkata for the friendly against Venezuela has seen a big boost in the sale of tickets, and the same scenario will be seen here in Bangladesh too, alleviating BFF’s worries.
“I am not thinking about the unsold tickets of Argentina-Nigeria match as I believe all will be sold soon after the arrival of the Argentina team on September 3,” said Helal.
Confirmation is yet to reach the BFF about the choice of practice venue for the Argentine team, but they are preparing the Khan Shaheb Ali Osman Stadium in Fatullah for the Albicelste’s open practice session.
“After getting a hint from local agents Showbiz Entertainment, we are preparing the Fatullah Stadium for the practice session which is supposed be held on September 4. The goalposts will be set up today (Monday) while the dressing rooms, water supply and electricity facilities are also being spruced up for the practice session,” said Helal.
Meanwhile, the reception committee is busy arranging souvenirs which will be presented to both Argentina and Nigeria teams. Souvenirs such as miniature boats and rickshaws made of bronze, Nakshi Kanthas and crests were being chosen to be presented to the visiting teams.
It had earlier been decided that a team of some 40 current and former footballers would accord a reception to both Argentina and Nigeria at the airport and now the women footballers are expected to join the party, as a 17-member national women’s team was named yesterday.

–With The Daily Star input

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