Markets will be sealed off and sniffer dogs and bomb disposal units deployed in the stadium as part of “unprecedented” security measures for Bangladesh’s World Cup qualifying match against Australia next week, an official said Sunday.
Australia have confirmed their tour to Dhaka for the November 17 fixture at the Bangabandhu National Stadium after a security assessment by its officials and a representative of FIFA, football’s world governing body.
The match was thrown into doubt after Australian cricket team cancelled their tour to Bangladesh over security fears and Socceroos officials flagged their concerns to FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation.
Two security officials of the Football Federation Australia, in Dhaka since Monday, and a FIFA security officer met Bangladesh’s home affairs minister and the law enforcement agencies before giving the match the go-ahead.
“The security for the match will be at unprecedented level — much higher than any other international matches ever held in Bangladesh,” said Maruf Hasan, Dhaka’s deputy police chief.
Hasan, who also represents Asian Football Confederation, said all the markets and business outlets at the stadium and in the surrounding area will remain shut for two days before the match.
“We will seal off the shops for two days after a thorough security check. The movement of all vehicles around the stadium will be suspended. Our dog squad and bomb disposal unit will sweep the ground before the match,” he said.
Australian footballers are currently in Singapore after beating Kyrgyzstan 3-0 in Canberra on Thursday. They are expected to arrive in Dhaka just a day before the match.
The match is crucial for Australia who are second in their group — one point behind leaders Jordan — and cannot afford to forfeit three points by failing to fulfil a fixture.
Australia thrashed Bangladesh 5-0 in September’s home qualifier in Perth. Bangladesh are laying bottom in their group with just one point from six matches.
Australia’s cricketers had been due to play a two-Test series in Bangladesh in October but the tour was scrapped after a security alert was issued by officials.
The alert was followed by the killings of two foreigners and deadly blasts at a Shiite shrines — attacks claimed by the Islamic State group.
Bangladesh’s government has however rejected the idea that Islamic State is operating in the majority Muslim nation. – Agence France-Presse