If Abahani win the tournament, where they will feature in the opener against Bangladesh Police at the Bangabandhu National Stadium from 4 pm, it will be their 12th title in the prestigious event
Dhaka football is going to raise its curtain with the Federation Cup on Wednesday and Abahani Limited, the country’s football powerhouse, is looking forward to defending their title.
If the popular sky-blue win the tournament, where they will feature in the opener against Bangladesh Police at the Bangabandhu National Stadium from 4 pm, it will be their 12th title in the prestigious event.
Arambagh Krira Sangha, whose strength has been reduced after the casino scandal this season, are the other team in the group A and the Dhanmondi giants will face the Motijheel-based club in their last group match on December 24.
Abahani Manager Satyajit Das Rupu was upbeat ahead of the tournament, as he believed the players are ready for the fight.
“Our booters are now preparing themselves for the meet and we don’t have any injury problems. We will try to play our best football to retain title,” Rupu said Sunday.
Abahani, one of the most successful and popular clubs in the country, had a mixed year in 2018-19. They faced severe challenge from the new team Bashundhara Kings, who ultimately clinched the title with the tradition club being runner-up. However, Abahani got international success as they became the first club of the country to qualify for the inter-zone play-off semi-finals of the AFC Cup, before losing to a strong North Korean outfit April 25 SC.
Abahani, however, may have to deal with some fatigue as their players on the national team had a hectic season with the red and green.
Abahani were placed in an easy group, while Bashundhara Kings and Chittagong Abahani Limited were drawn together as the draw ceremony of the season opening Federation Cup took place at Bangladesh Football Federation office in Motijheel, Dhaka Friday.https://t.co/VHnvH7j6c1#BFF— Dhaka Tribune Sports (@Sport_DT) December 13, 2019
Rupu hoped the busy season would not be a huge problem.
“The fatigue was a big problem for us, but they have dealt with it. The booters have had a busy season. I hope it won’t make any obstacle in the competition. We will try to display our best football at the upcoming meet and create more scoring chances. Without a goal, we cannot win a match. Our first match is against a new team. I hope we will do well,” he said.
“The meet will also help us prepare ourselves ahead of the AFC Cup South Asia Zone Play-off match against Maziya S&RC in February,” added the manager.
The Federation Cup Football is a qualifying tournament for AFC Cup Football. The champion team of the Federation Cup will qualify for preliminary round-2 of the South Asia Zone Play-offs of the AFC Cup.
Dhaka Abahani Ltd will play against former Maldives Premier League champions Maziya Sports and Recreation Club home and away in the preliminary round 2 of the play-offs on February 5 and 12 next year, while Bengaluru FC will play against the winners of Preliminary round 1.
The two winners of preliminary round 2 will play a double-legged final for the South Asia Zone play-offs on February 19 and 26 in 2020.