Former national forward Rokonuzzaman Kanchan is currently the most experienced and senior player in the Bangladesh Championship League but the 37-year old proved that age is just a number by leading his club Bashundhara Kings to their maiden promotion in the top-tier league.
Kanchan was given the captaincy when it was decided that Bashundhara, who finished third in the Pioneer League last year, would play directly in the second-tier league without competing in the first, second and third division. With only two more rounds left, Bashundhara became the first club to confirm their place in the next Bangladesh Premier League edition, thanks to the team's top scorer Kanchan, who netted 11 goals and provided six assists in 17 matches.
"My old mentor [Shafiqul Islam] Manik bhai called and asked me to take the responsibility of the club. It was his suggestion that I should guide the club to the premier league and score goals. The average age of the other squad members is not more than 25. They try to learn from me every day. It has been a pleasing time here," said Kanchan to Dhaka Tribune Friday.
Bashundhara, being one of the two clubs along with Nofel Sporting Club who are playing in the second-tier for the first time since their establishment four years ago, took on Agrani Bank Limited Football Club in their 17th match of the BCL at Kamalapur Stadium Saturday and a win there meant they finished as champion with a game in hand. They now have 35 points while second-placed Nofel have seven points less. Kanchan is now the top scorer.
Kanchan scored Bashundhara's only goal when the club earned their first ever win in the BCL and the veteran striker also netted the winning goal in their 1-0 win over Police Football Club Thursday which sealed promotion. He aims to score at least one more goal in their final match of the league.
The lad from Munshiganj's Sirajdikhan has enjoyed a long and distinguished playing career in the Dhaka football scenario. According to the player himself and an official of the BFF, Zaber al Ansari, Kanchan is the most senior and experienced player in the history of the Championship. Even in the Premier League, Sheikh Russel Krira Chakra goalkeeper Biplob Bhattacharjee only beats Kanchan in terms of experience.
Kanchan informed that he started his playing career in 1993 with second division club Rayer Bazar before moving to Fokirerpool in the Dhaka League in 1995-96. He went on to play for Agrani Bank (1997), Farashganj Sporting Club (1998), Dhaka Abahani Limited (1998-2000) and Mohammedan Sporting Club Limited (2000-02). He joined Muktijoddha Sangsad Krira Chakra in 2003 and stayed in the club for 10 years. He played for Arambagh Krira Sangha for a season in 2014-15 but returned to the Muktis the following season. He featured in the national team from 1998 to 2010. Kanchan played as a centre forward and left winger for the majority of his career, but also played as left-back for Muktijoddha in 2010.
"My initial intention was to continue playing till 2020. Now I want to play for at least two years but it depends on my fitness. Abahani's Yusuf bhai played for 25 years and I want to top him and become the footballer with the most lengthy professional career in Bangladesh," he concluded.