The Bangladesh National Football team’s remaining four Group E Joint Qualifications matches of the FIFA World Cup Qatar' 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023, have been postponed till 2021 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The remaining Group E matches were originally scheduled for March-April this year but the coronavirus-enforced lockdown shifted the matches to October-November.
As per the previous schedule, Bangladesh will play Afghanistan India and Oman on October 8, November 12 and 17 respectively in their home matches all at the Sylhet Stadium while they will meet the Asian champions Qatar in their lone away match on Oct 13 in Doha.
However, with COVID still rampant across countries, AFC and FIFA have jointly decided to further postpone the matches to next year. Exact dates and the fixtures will be revealed later.
“With the aim of protecting the health and safety of all participants, FIFA and the AFC will continue to work together to closely monitor the situation in the region and to identify new dates for the respective qualifying matches,” said a joint statement issued by FIFA and AFC on August 12.
In light of the current COVID-19 situation in many countries, FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) have jointly decided that the upcoming qualifying matches for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023, originally scheduled to take place during the international match windows in October and November 2020, will be rescheduled to 2021.
Further details on the new dates for the joint qualifying matches will be announced in due course, the statement added.
Earlier, Bangladesh started their campaign in FIFA and AFC joint qualifiers with a 0-1 defeat against Afghanistan in the first match in the Tajik capital of Dushanbe on September 10, conceded a 0-2 goals defeat against Asian champions Qatar in the second match in Dhaka on October 10, played to a 1-1 draw against India in their third match in Kolkata on October 15 and conceded 1-4 goals defeat against Oman in the fourth match at the Seeb Sports Stadium in Al Seeb city of Oman on November 14 last year.
In the five-team Group E, Qatar is now leading the point table with 13 points from five matches while Bangladesh are at the bottom place with one point from four matches. Among others, Oman secured 12, Afghanistan 4 and India 3 points.
Bangladesh national football team, which already started their isolation practice camp for the FIFA and AFC Joint Qualifiers with 30 players out of initially selected 36 at Sarah Resort in Gazipur from August 5, has been postponed from Thursday (Aug 13) following the decision of their Apex body.
But, 18 booters out of 30 were initially found positive in the coronavirus reports soon after their arrival at Sarah Resort.
Later, all the 3O players with six team officials were tested again by two separate medical teams last Monday.
In the latest reports received on Wednesday, seven booters -- Tutul Hosssin Badsha, Rabiul Hasan, SM Bablu, Shahidul Alam, Biswanath Ghosh, Faisal Ahmed Fahim and Anisur Rahman --were found Corona virus positive.
Three more booters--Riadul Hasan, Rayhan Hasan and Rakib Hossain -- carrying some virus symptoms and they will be under BFF close observations.