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21 Nov 2020 19:34:13

Bangladesh set to face Qatar on Dec 4 despite Covid-19 worries

Bangladesh set to face Qatar on Dec 4 despite Covid-19 worries

The Qatar Football Association on Saturday confirmed the fixture details of the FIFA World Cup 2022 and AFC Asia Cup 2023 joint-qualification match between Asian champions Qatar and Bangladesh.

The Group E fixture will be played on December 4 at the Abdullah Bin Khalifa Stadium in Doha.  The match will kick-off at 1900hrs locally, i.e. 2200hrs or 10PM in Bangladesh.  It will be the first and only qualifier in the Asian continent to be held in pandemic-hit 2020, with the change in schedule approved by FIFA as well as the two participating member associations.

Also on Saturday, all members of the Bangladesh National Football Team submitted their second samples for Covid-19 tests since arriving in Doha last Thursday.

In that first round, two Bangladeshi officials--Md Amer Khan (Team Manager) and Fuad Hasan (Team Physiotherapist), tested positive - although neither presented any of the symptoms associated with the virus. Earlier, Bangladesh head coach Jamie Day was prevented from joining his charges as they flew out after testing positive for the coronavirus. He remains hopeful of joining the team in the coming days.

The Bangladesh squad, divided into three groups, hit their hotel gym for the first time today. While the team maintained a 3-day mandatory quarantine (since arrival), they remained confined to their hotel. None of the players have kicked a ball in anger yet since arriving in the oil-and-gas rich Gulf nation.

That is set to change tomorrow (Sunday), as the Bangladesh team is likely to start its practice sessions, with two preparatory matches against local selections scheduled for November 25 (Wednesday) and 28 (next Saturday) before the big game against the hosts.

It will be the return fixture between the two sides in Group E, with Qatar having eked out a 2-0 win in the first meeting in Dhaka in October 2019.

Qatar is now leading the group with 13 points from five matches played, while Bangladesh are bottom - despite some spirited performances - with one point from four matches. In between them are Oman with 12 pts from 5 games, Afghanistan with 4 pts from 5 games, and India with 3 points from 5 games.