Mamunul Islam played for Brothers Union in the debut professional football league season back in 2006-07 before joining Abahani in 2008
Mamunul Islam, former captain of Bangladesh football team, made a return to his old club Abahani Limited after a hiatus of 10 years. The midfielder played for Brothers Union in the debut professional football league season back in 2006-07 before joining the Dhanmondi giants in 2008. But, after that title winning campaign he left the side and played for Mohammedan SC, Sheikh Jamal DC, Muktijoddha SKC, Sheikh Russel KC and Chittagong Abahani and brought those teams many success. The 29-year-old shared his decade-long experience with Dhaka Tribune at Abahani ground on Wednesday.
Q: How was the experience playing for Abahani first time and how the things have changed in ten years?
Mamunul: It was a good season  because we won the league title also became runners-up in the Federation Cup. I passed a great time because I’d just joined a new team which was my dream club and played the whole season there. I was young and energetic but Mamunul has become more mature now.
Only Abahani and Mohammedan used to form champions team until 2009-10. Only these two clubs used to rope in national players including the senior and experienced ones. Now 5-6 clubs form title-aspiring squads and all of them contain national players. So, it was tougher to get into one of these two sides back then.
Q: What are the differences between playing for Abahani and other teams you played in your career?
Mamunul: I have gone through quite a long voyage. It’s more about fighting when you join a new team and try to establish the club. As Abahani is already an established club it’s more challenging when you represent a club like Sheikh Russel KC or Mutijoddha SKC, giving Sheikh Jamal DC the taste of championship title and help Chittagong Abahani becoming runners-up. Those fights were harder as I had to shift totally to a new environment at a new club. Abahani is the best club in the country, the job here is to keep the title and the journey is bit easier here. But here the challenge is different, that is to fight constantly for keeping your place in the team.
It was good time at Brothers and Abahani but there was little misunderstanding regarding financial matters with Mohammedan in 2009. Unfortunately the same problem occurs along with internal problems at Sheikh Jamal and Chittagong Abahani. As a result I left those outfits despite some wonderful memories with them.
Q: It becomes a trend in Bangladesh Premier League that the majority clubs fail to keep most of its players from one season to another. You also noticed it at when you are at other clubs. Is it the right trend?
Mamunul: Abahani do not follow this trend because they usually keep most of their players from their previous squad. What happens at other clubs is that there are new people, new thoughts, but here the management is always the same. There are also players staying at the same club for 7-8 years. About two or three changes are made according to the requirements. It’s best to keep most of the players for consecutive seasons. It’s difficult to keep the best players due to financial reason as it is sometimes tough for the clubs to match with the financial ambition of a prospective player.
Bashundhara Kings formed a very good squad but the question is whether they can carry it on to the next season. Saif SC spent lots of money last season but many of their top performers left the club this season. It’s good for both the team and the players if a club can keep at least ten players from its previous squad. That enhances understanding and help players adjust better.