• Monday, Sep 23, 2019
  • Last Update : 07:30 pm

Sk Russel look to end drought, Kings eye maiden glory

  • Published at 09:00 pm December 25th, 2018
Independence Cup
Sheikh Russel captain Ashraful Islam Rana (R) and Bashundhara Kings skipper Emon Mahmud pose for photographs with the Independence Cup trophy in Dhaka Tuesday Dhaka Tribune/Md Manik

Sheikh Russel head coach Saiful Bari Titu appeared at the pre-final presser with veteran national goalkeeper Ashraful Islam Rana, while Bashundhara’s Spanish coach Oscar Bruzon came up with midfielder Emon Mahmud

Sheikh Russel Krira Chakra will be looking to end their trophy drought after five years, while Bashundhara Kings will eye maiden silverware in their debut season as the two sides face each other in the final of the Independence Cup at Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka Wednesday at 4:30pm.

Sheikh Russel head coach Saiful Bari Titu appeared at the pre-final presser with veteran national goalkeeper Ashraful Islam Rana, while Bashundhara’s Spanish coach Oscar Bruzon came up with midfielder Emon Mahmud.

They all looked confident ahead of the last match of the ongoing year.

Bruzon looked in jolly mood despite the absence and uncertainty over some of his key players. 

When the question of pressure arose, for guiding the star-studded squad to a second consecutive final after the Federation Cup defeat to Abahani, the Portuguese rather relished the challenge despite the pressure of the final.

The concerns regarding scoring had gone during the knockout stage for Titu, which is why the former national team coach saw hope, and was confident of carrying the good form to the final with one of the best defenses this season. 

The former treble winner are yet to concede a single goal in four matches so far.

But things could change in the final as Nigerian defender Alison Udoka, Bishwanath Ghosh and Co have to deal with a fully-recovered World Cupper Daniel Colindres and Brazilian striker Marcos Vinicius, who returned from injury from the semi-final, along with in-form Masuk Mia Jony and Matin Mia.

Bashundhara may have to start with two foreigners due to the injury of Spanish defender Jorge Gotor Blas and uncertainty over versatile Kyrgyz midfielder Baktiyar Duishobekov, who is currently with the Kyrgyzstan team for yesterday night’s friendly against Qatar.

If the game rolls forward to the penalty shootout once again, Bashundhara’s tie-breaker hero in the last two matches, Anisur Rahman Zico will be in focus, but Titu said he is not worried with having the “No 1 goalkeeper” (Rana) in his side.

Titu said, “It was a difficult start from the toughest group which rather benefited us before the quarter-final and semi-final. All credit to the players as their performance increased with every match. Finals are not only about improving, but winning. Sometimes, football is more than life and death.

“I knew Bruzon from his time at New Radiant (Maldives club). He likes to play attacking, as they have Colindres up front, we have to give a high level of concentration to overcome the final hurdle.”

Bruzon also admitted that tough group fixtures helped them improve, and hoped to play upto expectation, which means that there was no alternative to winning the title. 

“Hopefully we will stick to our plan, play a different brand of football and celebrate after the final as our players want the trophy,” said Bruzon.

“They have a strong, compact, solid and consistent defence, an organised midfield, and good trio attacking in front that are good in counter-attacks. We know them very well and they also know us. But we want to focus and concentrate on our own game rather than think too much about Sheikh Russel,” added Bruzon.

Sheikh Russel’s Sohel Rana lost his wife and child during a tragic accident approximately a month ago. 

The midfielder returned to training two days ago to boost the team. 

Rana said that they would dedicate the trophy to Sohel’s deceased family members if they win.