After two new promoted clubs – Bashundhara Kings and Nofel Sporting Club - completed the formalities on the previous days, Saif Sporting Club became the third top-flight club to submit their players’ registration forms when they came to the BFF House in the noon
Both Sheikh Russel Krira Chakra and Saif Sporting Club managed to keep four national players in their respective squads, alongside a group of experienced coaching staffs, while Bangladesh Muktijoddha Sangsad Krira Chakra yet again formed a mediocre squad as the three Bangladesh Premier League clubs completed the players’ registration process Sunday.
After two new promoted clubs – Bashundhara Kings and Nofel Sporting Club - completed the formalities on the previous days, Saif Sporting became the third top-flight club to submit their players’ registration forms when they came to the BFF House in the noon.
Sheikh Russel and Muktijoddha arrived in the afternoon.
Reigning premier league and Federation Cup champion Abahani Limited will complete their players’ registration procedure on the deadline day Monday, along with Lt. Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club Limited, Brothers Union, Team BJMC, Chittagong Abahani Limited and Rahmatganj Muslim Friends Society.
Independence Cup champion Arambagh were scheduled to complete the formalities Sunday but later decided to delay their schedule by a day.
Youth and maturity in Sheikh Russel troop
Former treble winner Sheikh Russel couldn’t meet the fans’ expectation in the last three seasons, despite forming a star-studded squad on both occasions but this time around, the club are looking forward to improving on their recent results under the guidance of experienced head coach Saiful Bari Titu, who will be assisted by two foreign coaches.
Bangabandhu Gold Cup’s most promising player Biplu Ahmed and other young defender Bishwanath Ghosh are two of the four national players signed by Sheikh Russel, along with experienced goalkeeper Ashraful Islam Rana and defender Yeasin Khan.
There are also some notable former national footballers like Mamun Khan, Ariful Islam, Khalekurzaman, Mohammad Abdullah, Aminur Rahman Sajib, Shahedul Alam and Yeamin Munna.
A total of 11 players from last season’s squad kept their places in the 30-man squad submitted yesterday.
One of national team head coach Jamie Day’s assistants, Masud Parvez Kaiser joined Titu’s coaching staff, along with Portuguese Bruto Da Costa and Kenyan goalkeeping coach Abdul Iddi Salim.
Titu also relied on the foreigners for his attacking third as last season’s top-scorer Raphael Odoyin Onwrebe joined the troop from Sheikh Jamal, along with two new big signings, Brazilian forward Alex da Silva and Uzbekistan forward Azizov Alisher.
Nigerian defender Elison Udoka got reunited with Titu from Chittagong Abahani.
“Federation Cup will be the warm-up tournament from where we will know the standard of the other teams, and also more about my players,” said Titu.
He added, “Our squad is a mixture of young and matured players. We also signed some quality foreign players, so I’m hoping to make better impact than the last few seasons.”
Saif Sporting eye maiden silverware
Like Bashundhara Kings this season, Saif Sporting also formed a big budget squad last season when they were promoted to the top-flight for the first time, but finished fourth in their debut league appearance without any silverware.
Their maiden AFC Cup campaign also ended in the preliminary round.
This time, the club are one of the first to begin their pre-season camp in late June, four months after roping in British coach Stewart Hall and Tanzanian assistant coach Dennis Kitambi, keeping a total of 16 players from last season’s squad.
National team captain and midfielder Jamal Bhuiyan is one of four national players in the Saif Sporting squad, along with full-back Rahmat Mia and young attacking duo Jafar Iqbal and Javed Khan.
Colombian midfielder Deiner Andres Cordoba remained at the club while three other foreign signings are former Russian U-17 and U-19 national forward Denis Bolshakov, Jonathan Cordoba and South Korean Seungil Park.
Also the club captain, Jamal said, “We want to rectify those mistakes we did last season before stepping up to the new season. We have many young players who are eager to prove their worth. They wanted to win all the titles even though the other clubs also formed strong teams. I hope this league would be very competitive and we will fight for the title.”
Saif Sporting, who finished fourth last season, are the only club who played an international tournament, in the Bodousa Cup in India, and won the title there.
They also played two practice matches against the reserve teams of Atletico de Kolkata and Kolkata Mohammedan Sporting Club.
Meanwhile, Mukitjoddha formed an average squad once again.
Head coach Abdul Kaiyum Sentu admitted that they formed the squad to survive in the league, and better their 11th place finish from last season.