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Bangladesh set to feature Nigeria-born forward Eleta Kingsley in SAFF Championship 2021

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Eleta Kingsley currently plays for Bangladesh champions Bashundhara Kings…

Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) have included Nigerian-born forward Eleta Kingsley in their preliminary 34-man squad for the upcoming SAFF Championship 2021 as they await clearance from FIFA so that the player can represent the country.

The Bangladesh football team is expected to start their preparation for the SAFF Championship from September 21 once their domestic football season gets over. The 2020-21 Bangladesh Premier League champions Bashundhara Kings will play their remaining three fixtures on September 14, 17 and 20 after which the national team will start their preparation.

Who is Bashundhara Kings forward Eleta Kingsley?

Born in Ogbona, Nigeria, Eleta Kingsley began his professional career with Nigerian club Akwa United in 2009 and spent two seasons there. Since 2011, Kingsley has been plying his trade in Bangladesh. He has played for clubs Arambagh KS, Team BJMC and Muktijoddha Sangsad KC. 

In 2021, the forward attained Bangladesh citizenship via naturalization and then joined Bangladeshi champions-elect Bashundhara Kings. While Kingsley is officially a Bangladeshi citizen now, he is yet to receive clearance from FIFA to represent the national team.

What is BFF saying about Eleta Kingsley’s chances of playing in the SAFF Championship?

Despite not getting clearance from FIFA yet, BFF decided to include Kingsley in the preliminary national squad for the upcoming SAFF Championship as the federation expects a clearance from FIFA very soon.

Speaking to Daily Star BFF general secretary Abu Nayeem Shohag said, “We have contacted FIFA several times regarding Eleta’s clearance to play for Bangladesh in the SAFF championship. We understand that FIFA will send the matter to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and we may have a virtual meeting with FIFA regarding Eleta Kingsley’s clearance.”

When are Bangladesh playing their first match in SAFF Championship 2021?

Bangladesh begin their campaign on October 1 against Sri Lanka followed by facing India on October 4. They take on hosts Maldives on October 7 and then face Nepal in their final league match on October 13.

What is the format of the SAFF Championship 2021?

Since only five nations will be participating in the competition there will be no groups and the teams will play each other once in a round-robin format. The top two teams will advance to the final. 



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