The Bangladesh Premier League champions will get the chance to showcase their strength as they take on I-League outfits Gokulam Kerala FC in their first match of the Sheikh Kamal International Club Cup 2019 Tuesday
Bashundhara Kings look even stronger on paper compared to last season as they have more than a dozen of national team players along with some of the proven foreign signings who are eager to exhibit their powerful presence.
The Bangladesh Premier League champions will get the chance to showcase their strength as they take on I-League outfits Gokulam Kerala FC in their first match of the Sheikh Kamal International Club Cup 2019 Tuesday.
The star-studded squad presented coach Oscar Bruzon with a sweet dilemma of picking his starting eleven but the tournament also offers the Spanish a fine occasion to get to know his new recruits better before the new domestic season kicks off two months later.
Gokulam Kerala, nicknamed Malabarians, was formed only two years ago and finished ninth in the I-League last season but Bruzon showed no signs of taking the opponents lightly. “They are the recent winners of Durand Cup beating teams like East Bengal and Mohun Bagan in the semifinal and final. They have a very particular way of playing football with very tough stoppers and wingers and, they accumulate a lot of players inside. So we need to be aware,” said Bruzon after their training session at Bandar field Monday morning.
“We are here to control the game, to shine and to play in our opponents’ half and to be the team that is powerful on the pitch. I hope we can do that tomorrow [today],” said Bruzon, before adding, “We have been practicing with only 10-12 players for five weeks. The national team players came back only three days ago, so I can’t make an analysis of the full squad until I see them on the pitch. But with what I’m seeing in daily practice sessions, I’m surprised and excited because I feel that definitely, we stepped forward if we compare our team to that of last season.”
Kings have as many as 10 players from the latest squad of the national team that played against India last week including their new recruits of Yeasin Khan, Rabiul Hasan, Biplo Ahmed, Bishwanath Ghosh while other injured national signings Topu Barman, Atiqur Rahman Fahad are training with the team but still require at least a month to recover fully.
Among the foreign recruits, last year’s Costa Rican World Cupper Daniel Colindres and Kyrgyzstan national midfielder Baktyiar Duishobekov will be accompanied by new signings - Lebanese striker Jalal Kdouh and Nigerian forward Eleta Kingsley who played for Team BJMC last season.
Bruzon has high hopes for the rising star from Lebanon. “Kdouh is going to be a sensation, not only in this tournament but also throughout the season. Jalal seems like proper No.9. I hope in three-four months, all of you will recognize Jalal is the best striker in the country.”
“We didn’t have a lot of balance in the squad last season. There was little difference between the best players and the worst. But this year, it is the opposite scenario. This year, we have all very good players in our squad. We will definitely face problems every match day to choose the eleven.”
Gokulam Kerala arrived in the port city yesterday afternoon before facing the Kings today at MA Aziz Stadium at 7pm while other two teams in Group B – Terengganu FC of Malaysia and I-league champions Chennai City FC take on each other in the first match at 4pm.