The Bangladesh Hockey Federation (BHF) on Saturday announced a 16-member national team for September's Asian Games, leaving out veteran midfielders Sheikh Mohammad Nannu and Sabbir Hossain along with goalkeeper Rafiqul Islam, defender Belal Hossain and Ratul Ahmed from the 21-member squad which has been training in the Bangladesh Krira Shikkha Protishthan for the last two and a half months.
Nannu himself wanted to be left out to sit for his honours exams while Sabbir was ruled out due to a shoulder injury he suffered during the first match of the three-match friendly series against India earlier this month.
The team features, among others, two fresh faces in Milon Hossain, who is replacement for Nannu and goalkeeper Abu Sayeed Nippon, both of whom played in the friendly matches against India.
“Milon has been taken in Nannu's position, who can play either as a midfielder or a defender. The team has few players who can play in various positions,” said Rafikul Islam Kamal, selector of the national team, when contacted over phone yesterday.
Nannu and Sabbir's absence is likely to be a cause for concern for coach Naveed Alam, as both the midfielders were key to his plans, and are seen as blows to the team, which looked vulnerable in midfield and defence during the matches against India.
Asim Gop, Abu Sayeed Nippon, Mamunur Rahman Chayan, Khorshedur Rahman, Rokonuzzaman Shohag, Farhad Ahmed Shitul, Sarwar Hossain, Krishna Kumar, Hasan Jubayer Niloy, Pushkor Khisha Mimo, Mainul islam Koushik, Tapash Barman, Irfanul Haque, Milon Hossain, Rabbi Salehin Rocky, Salman Sadique.