BB Gold Cup: Holders Palestine, Mauritius in city

Reigning champions Palestine and African nation Mauritius arrived Dhaka on Monday to participate in the upcoming six-nation Bangabandhu International Gold Cup Football Tournament beginning on Wednesday (Jan 15) at the Bangabandhu National Stadium here.

The West Asian side Palestine arrived at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka at 11 am while Mauritius team landed the airport at 2:45 pm. Both national teams consist of 29 members.

The Islanders Sri Lanka will reach the capital on Tuesday (January 14) at 11:30 am while another African nation Burundi will be here at 12:20 pm on the same day. The remaining African team Seychelles will arrive here on Thursday (January 16) at 10 am, a day after the meet's started.

About their target, Palestine Team Manager Jaber Jaarrin said, We are the defending champions, we came here again to return home with the trophy. It'll also be a preparatory tournament for us for the FIFA World Cup'2022 Qualifiers against Singapore in next March.

Striker of the holders Palestine Tahir Jbbuir echoed the voice of his team manager and said, We came here to be the champions, there are some players in our team who played in the last Bangabandhu Gold Cup in Dhaka. So, we have good ideas about hosts Bangladesh team.

Earlier, hosts Bangladesh was placed in a tough group along with Palestine and Sri Lanka. They will face the holders Palestine in the opening match on January 15 at 5pm at the country's premier sports venue�Bangabandhu National Stadium eyeing a draw.

In the second match, the red and green boys will take on Sri Lanka on January 19 at the same time and same venue.

The Group B team comprises of Burundi, Mauritius and Seychelles. Burundi will play Mauritius in the first Group B match on January 16 at 5:pm at Bangabandhu National Stadium.

Two top teams from each of the group will play in the semi-finals -- Group A champions will play Group B runners-up in the first semi-final on January 22 while Group B champions will face Group A runners-up in the other match on January 23, both at 5 pm at the same venue.

The final match will be held on January 25, also at 5 pm.

Ahead of the tournament, BFF President Kazi Mohammad Salahuddin at a function on Sunday announced a bonus US $100,000 if the Bangladesh team clinches the Bangabandhu Gold Cup title. In case they end up as runners-up, Bangladesh team will get US $50,000.

In the last edition of the BB Gold Cup in 2018, Palestine emerged unbeaten champions beating Tajikistan by 4-3 goals in the tie-breaker. On their way to final, the West Asian nation beat Tajikistan by 2-0 goals and Nepal by 1-0 goal in the group stage. They maintained their winning streak beating hosts Bangladesh by 2-0 goals in the semifinal.

Source: United News of Bangladesh