Day dismisses ‘usual fake news’

As the national team committee of the Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) prepares a comprehensive plan for the national football team ahead of next March’s Bangabandhu Gold Cup in Dhaka, whispers that British coach Jamie Day would be terminated spread through the football fraternity on Thursday night.

Having quoted one of the BFF vice presidents, one television channel reported that Jamie was going to be terminated following Bangladesh’s 0-5 drubbing in Qatar.

However, national team committee chairman and BFF vice-president Kazi Nabil Ahmed ruled out any such move, saying they were satisfied with Day, whose contract was extended until 2022.

“It is just a rumour. I request everyone not to pay attention to it. Everyone was surprised by such a rumour when we are planning the future of the national team. I don’t know how it spread,” Nabil said. “I am satisfied with Day’s performances because Qatar got four months’ time before facing Bangladesh. They played domestic matches as well as international friendlies against strong opponents. But Bangladesh played on the back of only six weeks of preparation. Bangladesh, under Day, played better against Qatar in the home match and I am hopeful that the boys will perform well in next three World Cup Qualifying matches on the back of good preparation.”

When contacted, Day termed it “usual fake news”. “Usual fake news. I spoke to the BFF this (Thursday) morning to discuss their plans for 2021, so I would be very surprised if they sacked me,” said Day, who has taken ill in England after recovering from Covid-19 in Bangladesh ahead of the Qatar tie.

The BFF is going to start the new season from December 22 through the Federation Cup before starting the Bangladesh Premier League in January. They are also mulling whether to have a one-month preparation camp in February ahead of the Bangabandhu Gold Cup, which was proposed to be held from March 1 in Dhaka.

“The footballers will fully be engaged from December 22, with Day watching league matches in January to help him select players. The BFF president plans to start the national camp for the for Bangabandhu Gold Cup from the first week of February,” Nabil added. “The final fixture of the World Cup Qualifiers have not been disclosed yet but we can assume it will be held in March and June and we have a good possibility to secure points from all three home matches.”

However, Nabil said the execution of the BFF plans will depend on approval from clubs, who are not obligated to release their players a month ahead.

League champions Bashundhara Kings did not release their players within the BFF deadline for the two international friendlies against Nepal last month. BFF also agreed to play the Qatar tie beyond the FIFA window after clubs agreed to release their players for a six-week training camp.

Kazi Salahuddin said earlier that he wants one month of national training ahead of each of World Cup Qualifying match. But Day has only asked for 10 days to prepare his charges before matches or tournaments in the past. Comfortable with that, Day said: “I don’t believe it will be possible to have 30 days because clubs don’t need to release the players until five days before fixture. And if you look around the world, most training camps are 10 days long.”

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