Although the tournament is an annual one, this will be the second Independence Cup that is going to be staged in the same calendar year
Recently concluded Federation Cup runners-up Bashundhara Kings were pitted against top-flight giants Sheikh Russel Krira Chakra and Lt. Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club Limited in the group of death as the official draw of the Independence Cup took place at BFF House Sunday afternoon.
The season's second professional tournament will kick off Saturday.
Federation Cup champion Abahani Limited, who were eliminated from the last-eight stage in the last edition, were drawn with Bangladesh Muktijoddha Sangsad Krira Chakra and Brothers Union.
The Sky Blues have won the Bangladesh Premier League (six) and Federation Cup titles (11) for record times, but the Dhanmondi giant never won the Independence Cup since the introduction of the professional league back in 2007.
Abahani head coach SM Zakaria Babu is optimistic of carrying on their Federation Cup performance to the Independence Cup, and break the long jinx.
After getting to hear about the group opponent, Babu told Dhaka Tribune, “We are viewing each team as an equal challenge. We have to beat every team to achieve our target. We have not won it for a long time, but if we continue our form into the Independence Cup, we can win it this time.”
Big-spending outfit Bashundhara King’s team manager Bayezid Alam Zubair Nipu took their draw in the group of death positively.
“I think it’s a good draw for us. It’s our chance to prove our worth from the group of death, if we want to play the final. We played against Sheikh Russel and Sheikh Jamal recently in the Federation Cup. So we know them. We need to work more on defence to avoid mistakes we’ve previously made in order to do better in the upcoming event,” said Nipu.
A total of 13 premier league clubs were split into four groups.
Only Group B has four clubs, including Mohammedan Sporting Club Limited, Chittagong Abahani Limited and Rahmatganj Muslim Friends Society.
Abahani clinched their third consecutive Federation Cup title in style as the top-flight champion came from behind to defeat star-studded Bashundhara 3-1 in an eventful final of the season-opening tournament at Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka.https://t.co/7jVgDfmvbo#BFF— Dhaka Tribune Sports (@Sport_DT) November 23, 2018
Top two finishers from each group will move to the quarter-finals, scheduled to be held from December 11 to 14.
The final will be held on December 24.
The fixture is yet to be finalised.
Although the tournament is an annual one, this will be the second Independence Cup that is going to be staged in the same calendar year.
The last time it was held was in February this year when Arambagh Krira Sangha clinched the title.
Independence Cup draw
Group A: BJMC, Arambagh and Saif Sporting
Group B: Rahmatganj, Mohammedan, Ctg Abahani and Nofel
Group C: Muktijoddha, Brothers and Abahani
Group D: Bashundhara, Sheikh Russel and Sheikh Jamal