Bangladesh to play WC qualifiers at Qatar in Dec

Sports Correspondent

10 November, 2020 12:00 AM printer

Bangladesh agreed to play their lone away match of joint qualifiers round two for FIFA World Cup 2022 and AFC Asian Cup 2023 on December 4 at Qatar, confirmed Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) General Secretary Abu Nayeem Shohag on Monday. 

The host of World Cup 2022 Qatar proposed BFF two dates namely December 1 and December 4, for the match last week. Bangladesh opted for December 4. The match is expected to be held at Doha. 

“We initially agreed to play world cup qualifiers with them (Qatar). Last week they proposed two dates namely December 1 and December 4, to play in Doha and we opted for December 4. We are waiting for the final decision from FIFA this week. BFF is maintaining contact with Qatar FA. The next steps will be taken after getting the permission,” Shohag told the reporters.

Bangladesh were put in group E along with five teams namely Asian powerhouse Qatar, neighbours India and two other strong opponents, Oman and Afghanistan. In the second-leg matches, the men in red and green were expected to play home matches against Afghanistan, India and Oman on October 8, November 12 and 17 respectively and to play the lone away match against Qatar on October 13.

AFC, with permission of FIFA, postponed the schedule until 2021 due to travel restrictions of different countries in the wake of COVID-19 last August. But they added that the participating nations can play their respective matches with mutual consent. Qatar took the opportunity and sent proposals to opponent nations.

However, Bangladesh conceded a 0-2 defeat against Qatar in the first-leg home match last year. In other matches, the men in red and green conceded a 0-1 defeat against Afghanistan in the Tajik capital of Dushanbe, conceded a 1-4 goals defeat against Oman in Al Seeb city of Oman, but played out a 1-1 goal draw against India in Kolkata.

Bangladesh are now taking preparations for their upcoming two-match FIFA tier-1 international friendly series against Nepal, scheduled to be held at Bangabandhu National Stadium (BNS) in the capital on November 13 and November 17 respectively. National team head coach Jamie Day said that they are not worried about the Qatar game at this moment.

“We are not thinking about the Qatar game. It’s not been confirmed yet. There have been discussions in place but the main focus is just to play the games against Nepal. These are the most important games right now. If the Qatar game goes ahead, then obviously, this is a good preparation which we had,” said Jamie after the training session at BNS on Monday.  

“Qatar would play anyway so that’s not a headache. We played against Qatar in our home match. It would be a tough game. So if we take part in it, we will need to be at our best. We have got enough time to practice and hopefully we will get some games in before that match and get prepared,” the coach added.