Latics to tour Bangladesh

Last updated : 10 January 2007 By Dave Moore
The Latics are to send a Representative team on a tour to Bangladesh after receiving an official invitation from the Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) to play three games in Bangladesh, one against a full national side, between the 6th.-13th. May 2007. Part of the deal is that the Latics players and coaches will be involved in promotional work with local youngsters and players from local sides and will be assessing their footballing ability. It is hoped that some of the Bangladeshi youths will be selected to visit the UK for further training. Building multicultural relationships with the Bangladeshi youths and the Bangladeshi population within Oldham is also an aim of the tour.

Alan Hardy said, "This is a fabulous opportunity for us to spearhead a football campaign in Bangladesh. This year will see the formation of the first professional Football League in Bangladesh and I am pleased that the Bangladesh Football Federation has chosen Oldham Athletic to help build relations between our two countries. We are looking forward to the trip and building long term relationships. The mere fact that we are going on a ground breaking visit will also help to do that with Bangladeshi people in Oldham. We've worked with the Asian community for many years, and this can only help to develop that relationship.”

Youth Team Coach Tony Philliskirk is also excited by the prospect and added, "I heard about it before Christmas. Things have progressed quickly over the past four to six weeks and now it's signed and sealed. I've been on a few tours myself to places like China, Malaya and Brunei, places like that. It's going to be a fantastic experience for the lads. When I was with Sheffield United as a young lad we were sent to Borneo to open the national stadium. The first team were due to go, but the construction of the stadium was put back due to the monsoons so the youth team went instead. It was a massive thing, an unbelievable experience. Even if they make it as professionals, the young lads will probably never get to play in front of crowds as big as the ones that will be at the games over there (around 120,000). Hopefully this will lead to a closer relationship between Oldham Athletic and the Bangladeshi Football Federation."