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Salahuddin hopes of ending trophy drought

Staff Correspondent
25 Sep 2021 00:00:00 | Update: 25 Sep 2021 09:49:28
Salahuddin hopes of ending trophy drought
Bangladesh national football team’s new head coach Oscar Bruzon talks with defender Tariq Kazi and forward Elete Kingsley during practice at the Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka ahead of the SAFF Championship – BFF Photo

Bangladesh Football Federation President Kazi Salauddin is hopeful about the new look Bangladesh football team ahead of SAFF Championship where the red and greens have performed poorly in the past four editions.

After a dismal tour in Kyrgyzstan, BFF brought some changes in the squad and coaching staff of the national team, a new phase begun as Oscar Bruzon took charge of the national football team on Tuesday and started working on the team ahead of the SAFF Championship on Wednesday.

The new head coach called up Eleta Kingsley for the preliminary squad, making him the first-ever foreign-origin player selected for the red and greens.

After taking up his new role, Bruzon worked on the players’ fitness first on Thursday and continued on that on Friday.

Salahuddin visited the national team’s practice at the Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka. After his visit, said that he was hoping for a good outing in the upcoming SAFF Championship.

“I am hopeful that the team will do well. We fought a lot to bring in Oscar for this tournament. I don’t know about what happened earlier but I believe that it was the right call to change the coach. I believe that this change was required,” Salahuddin said.

The BFF and SAFF President said that the best thing about Oscar was that he owned the national team from the very moment of his appointment, unlike his predecessors.

“The thing I liked the most about the coach is that he owns the team. Since the day he agreed to be the coach, he started to think about the team as his own. This is the thing that I never saw before (in the previous coaches),” he said.

Salahuddin also added that he was on the same page about the technical side of the game with the newly-appointed head coach. He said, “I found out after talking to Oscar that we are on the same page about the technical aspect of the game. There were a couple of differences in opinion, but we talked it out, and I found it to be to my liking.”

Despite Eleta being called up for the preliminary side, there are still clouds of doubt regarding if he can play for Bangladesh in the SAFF Championship as he is yet to get his clearance from AFC and FIFA.

Salahuddin said they were trying their best but added that the coach did not say that Eleta was his number one pick.

“There are two questions about Eleta. One is from AFC and FIFA. I cannot tell you about that. We are trying in every way. Also, only his arrival will change our attacking dimension. Because we have to look at his fitness, his position and if he is in the coach’s plans. So, we are not thinking about it too much. Because we are yet to receive AFC, FIFA’s paperwork. Also, the coach did not tell me that he is the number one choice,” the BFF President said.

Eleta is still hoping to play in the SAFF and bring his club performances to the national team.

“I have to focus on my work. My work for the club has been praised by the nation. But I want to bring a positive change to the national side. We want a national side that will make the people of Bangladesh happy,” the Kings forward said on Thursday.

There were speculations about Jamal Bhuyan losing his captaincy for the SAFF Championship to Topu Barman, who led the Kings side coached by Bruzon.

But the Spaniard himself confirmed that the armband will stick to Jamal in the upcoming tournament.

“Jamal will stay as the skipper. We are not ringing in any changes. We are very happy. Jamal does fantastic work. So, I don’t know where these came from (talks about Jamal losing captaincy). Jamal is the skipper we discussed everything with, and he is the skipper who we want,” Bruzon clarified.

Jamal is also focused on doing well in the SAFF Championship and said they would have to adapt to the new system that Bruzon wants to implement.

“We will try. We have a good team. We know each other well. The coach explained the new things to us.

He wants to implement a new style and we are going to have to adapt to it,” Jamal said.

Bangladesh will kick off their SAFF Championship in Maldives against Sri Lanka on October 1.