The Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) yesterday decided to bring back former coach Lodewijk de Kruif ahead of the national team's Asian Cup qualifier play-offs against Tajikistan next month, some eight months after releasing the Dutchman following the team's disastrous performance in World Cup qualifiers.
Bangladesh will travel to Bishkek to play their away leg match on June 2 before hosting the Tajiks on June 7 in Dhaka. If Bangladesh fail to progress on aggregate results, they will then have another shot at qualification where they will face Bhutan over two legs on September 6 and October 11. A win in that fixture would see Bangladesh through to the final 24-team qualifying phase.
The decision to bring back de Kruif was made at the first meeting of the newly-elected executive committee of the game's governing body yesterday.
“The play-off matches against Tajikistan are important for us in order to move into the Asian Cup Qualifiers and having given it the highest priority, we have decided to bring back former coach [Lodewijk] de Kruif for one month,” BFF vice-president Kazi Nabil Ahmed said after the meeting, adding that de Kruif would arrive in Bangladesh soon.
“He is a proven coach, who has good idea about our players, our football and weather. If we bring a new coach, he will need time to understand everything, and our purpose of bringing a coach ahead of the play-off matches will go in vain,” Nabil explained the reasons behind bringing back de Kruif, who had guided Bangladesh to a second-place finish in the Bangabandhu Gold Cup in 2015.
After de Kruif's release, Bangladesh had three more coaches – Fabio Lopez, Maruful Haque and Gonzalo Sanchez Moreno, the latter given charge for a single match – but none of the three managed to yield positive results.