BANGLADESH



Bangladesh will hope that the return of the SAFF Suzuki Cup to its home turf will mean a second title win this year. When the tournament was hosted by the country for the first time in 2003, the Bangladeshis came out trumps by defeating Maldives on penalties in the final. However, six years later, when the SAFF Suzuki Cup returned to Bangladesh, the host lost out to India in the semis. The men in blue have also twice denied the Tigers' chances of adding to their solitary triumph at the final hurdle, in 1999 and 2005. Bangladesh is yet to play a final since then.

Managed by former A-League side Perth Glory's assistant coach Andrew Ord, the Tigers have not won an international match since defeating Sri Lanka in a January 2016 friendly. Bangladesh failed to progress to the group stage of the recent Asian Cup qualifiers but drew 2-2 with Laos in a friendly last month, after 18 months away from international football.

Although Enamul Haque did not make the squad for that match, he remains Bangladesh's best-known striker with seven goals from 16 matches. The now 32-year-old finished as the joint-top scorer at the 2009 SAFF Suzuki Cup in Bangladesh with four goals.

The host will look up to its experienced figures for a successful campaign. With 50 caps, midfielder Mamunul Islam is a key player for Bangladesh while Nasiruddin Chowdhury and Waly Faisal, both in their 30s, will shore up the defence. Another defender, the 23-year-old Topu Barman, will be integral to the team's plans, having racked up 21 caps already.

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