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Mohammedan recovering from casino controversy

  • Published at 10:21 pm November 18th, 2019
Casino
File photo: Law enforcing forces raided Mohammedan Sporting Club on 22nd September and confiscated the materials used for illegal casino in the club premise Syed Zakir Hossain

A number of former players and organizers, who had turned away from the club during Lokman’s tenure, have now returned to resurrect the fallen giant of Dhaka’s football arena to its former glory

Less than two months after Mohammedan Sporting Club Limited Director in-Charge Lokman Hossain Bhuiyan was sent to jail for running an illegal casino business on the club premises, the club are set to register their footballers for the upcoming Bangladesh Premier League season Tuesday.

A number of former players and organizers, who had turned away from the club during Lokman’s tenure, have now returned to resurrect the fallen giant of Dhaka’s football arena to its former glory.

When asked how the club managed to form a squad after Lokman’s arrest, former national team footballer and manager of Mohammedan Imtiaz Sultan Johnny said: “It is mysterious. We were worried whether we could form the team, but those who had worked under the Mohammedan banner came forward. Everyone started visiting the club regularly.

“We started talking to the players and also decided to keep last season’s coach (Sean Lane). The coach also had some choices while recruiting the players,” he added.

British-Australian Sean, who rescued the club from relegation after taking charge at the midway stage of the last premier league, found only 10 out of 30 players from last season’s squad. The rest are new recruits.

One player has been signed from premier league champions Bashundhara Kings, two each from Sheikh Russel KC, Chittagong Abahani and Arambagh, four from relegated NoFel SC, and three from lower-tier clubs. The training camp began on November 9.

Club Director Sarwar Hossain described the squad as youthful, and appeared to be happy with the signing of five foreign players, including two from the last squad – Malian forward Souleymane Diabate and Japanese midfielder Uryu Nagata.

The three new foreign recruits are Malian defender Ousmane Berthe, Nigerian defender Stanley Onyekachi Amadi and Cambodian midfielder Ugochukwu Obi Moneke.

“The quality players had already signed for different clubs when we decided to recruit players, but we still managed to sign five good foreign players. A new British trainer will join the side within two days,” Sarwar said.

He added that funds were raised from the club’s well-wishers, including Club President Obaidul Karim, former players, organizers, and one or two directors of the club.

One of the people who took initiative to guide the club in this tumultuous time was former star midfielder of the club and permanent member Badal Roy.

“We want to continue with these players in the long term, so that the club can produce players for the national team,” Badal said. 

Meanwhile, four other clubs – Bashundhara Kings, Sheikh Russel KC, and new promoted clubs Police AC and Uttar Baridhara Club – are also scheduled to go to the Bangladesh Football Federation House for their player registration Tuesday.