The management of the national football team will be hoping to receive as few Covid-19 positive cases as possible for a smooth start to the team's preparation camp for upcoming World Cup qualifiers as 26 footballers yesterday underwent tests twice at Sarah Resorts in Gazipur.
The Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) decided to test all 26 players and six members of the coaching and support staff twice in a single day after 18 out of 29 available players and one coach had tested positive on Wednesday and Thursday.
Praava Health and ICDDR,B collected the samples and are supposed to deliver the results today and tomorrow respectively.
The unexpected number of infections put the game's local governing body in trouble, especially after 15 players and one coach tested positives in the second tests despite returning negative results in initial tests before reporting to the BFF.
Ahead of Bangladesh's match against Afghanistan on October 8 in Sylhet, BFF announced a 36-member preliminary squad, with only 31 players available to join. Three Bashundhara Kings players were not released by the club while captain Jamal Bhuiyan and newly-called Tariq Raihan Kazi -- are currently in Denmark and Finland and are not expected to join very soon.
Not only the team management, all footballers will have their fingers crossed as majority of them had tested positive at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, only three to four days after returning negative results in their initial tests which were carried out at different private and government hospitals.
"Two institutes collected samples," team manager Satyajit Das Rupu said over phone from Gazipur. "During the sample collection, our doctor also checked all the players and no one complained about any sickness. Everyone was physically fine."
Rupu informed that the players are a bit demoralised but confident about being negative again.
"The players are a bit demoralised after being tested positive just one or two days after they had tested negative. They strongly believe that they will be negative in today's tests and will be able to join the others soon," Rupu said.
He also informed that four more players, who tested positive and are currently in Dhaka, were also supposed to give away samples.
After being tested negative, defender Tapu Barman on Sunday said that they would have gym, swimming and other training sessions separately, adding that players with positives test results are also doing core training in their respective rooms.
"If we sit idle, it will hamper us. So we want to continue training individually like we did at home," Tapu said. "I had tested four times and the results came out negative every time. The players are a bit frustrated with positive results as none of them have any symptom such as breathing problem, fever or sore throat."
However, the smooth conduct of the camp will depend on the latest test results, which will also define whether the game's local governing body takes further steps such as calling up new players or request FIFA and AFC to defer Bangladesh's matches.