Bashundhara Kings takes up AFC Cup challenge amid pandemic

Bashundhara Kings takes up AFC Cup challenge amid pandemic

last season Fed Cup winners Bashundhara Kings played a few matches before abandoning the Bangladesh Premier League

 By Sanat Babla, President of BSPA
DHAKA, Aug. 28, 2020: After the failure of Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) to launch football in Covid-19 situation, Bashundhara Kings takes up a new challenge to start football training camp from next month for its AFC Cup mission in Maldives where the Bangladesh champion will play its remaining five group E matches between October 23 and November 4.
The Asian Football Confederations (AFC) had to change the format of the group stage as the traditional home and away format wouldn’t be possible due to the pandemic. This situation compelled AFC to select a centralised venue to reduce the health risk. Two participating clubs from Maldives showed interest in hosting the group E matches in two separate stadiums in Male, the capital city of Maldives, while other two clubs from Bangladesh and India agreed to play there.
Earlier this month, the national team’s training camp for World Cup qualification was arranged in a resort where everything was messed up by BFF’s wrong decision. Covid test was mandatory but some players were sent to the camp without test reports. Seven players tested positive! AFC’s decision to postpone the qualifiers saved the situation. AFC and FIFA have decided to further postpone the World Cup qualifiers to next year.
AFC was determined to hold the AFC Cup though. Bashundhara Kings, the new powerhouse in Bangladesh football, is going to start training from the first week of September with all health guidelines. “We are very careful of our players, coaches and support staff. Their Covid test is going on and so far no one has tested positive. We want to ensure a corona-free football camp that can help players mentally only then players will prepare themselves with hard training,” said club’s president Imrul Hasan.
Oscar Bruzon, the Spanish coach, who is now in quarantine after returning to Dhaka, needs at least six-week to rebuild the team combination before the tournament. Last season Fed Cup winners Bashundhara Kings played a few matches before abandoning the Bangladesh Premier League, so the team combination is very vital especially with the new foreigners.
The newly included Fluminense FC winger Robinho, a replacement for outgoing Costa Rican World Cupper Daniel Colindres Solera, would be more lethal in forward line playing along with the `goal-machine’ Hernan Barcos. After scoring four goals, Argentine Barcos has established himself against TC Sports of Maldives. With this win, Kings is now on top of the four-team group.
Another new signing also from Brazillian club Botafogo FC, Jonathon Fernandez, with the quality to control the match, will play in place of Kyrgyz national midfielder Bakhtiar. Coming days an Australian defender will be added to strengthen the squad. With new signings on paper, Kings is stronger than before. Manager Oscar said: “We won every trophy at home in the last two seasons. We are in the AFC Cup for the first time and we want to show our ability on a bigger platform and create history.”