• Wednesday, Feb 19, 2020
  • Last Update : 07:39 pm

Federation Cup awaits new champion

  • Published at 09:38 pm January 4th, 2020
Fed cup

The Kings reached the final of the competition on debut in the previous season, while the old Dhaka outfit will be in the final of any professional tournament for the first time in 87 years

A new champion is set to be crowned in the Federation Cup, as neither Bashundhara Kings nor Rahmatganj Muslim Friends Society have ever won the title.

The Kings reached the final of the competition on debut in the previous season, while the old Dhaka outfit will be in the final of any professional tournament for the first time in 87 years.

The final of the 31st edition of the season-opening tournament will be held at Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka at 4pm Sunday. The Kings are distinct favorites on paper, but Rahmatganj’s defensive prowess could be a concern for the reigning premier league champions.

Big-spending Bashundhara did not set the tournament alight in the group stage or quarter-finals, but got the rhythm back with a comfortable 3-0 win over Police Football Club in the semifinals.

Kings coach Oscar Bruzon showed no signs of taking their today’s opponent lightly, even though many consider them to be minnows.

“They are well organized unit. They have two good players up front, energetic players in midfield and physical presence in defence, which could make it difficult for us. They also had one more day of rest. We have to be cautious. We are here to win the final,” the Spanish tactician said.

“I think their coach [Syed Golam Jilani] is the main person responsible for their unprecedented success. They understand the competition very well,” added Bruzon, urging his side to score in the first half and take control as in the last game.

Bruzon earlier blasted the condition of the pitch and congested fixture list of the tournament, which saw Bashundhara get just 48 hours’ rest before the final. However, his opposite number said they have better depth in the squad compared to Rahmatganj, who got three days’ rest and have no national players.

“Some players are injured and tired for playing four matches in a short time. Nahidul [Islam] and Arafat [Hossain] couldn’t train [Friday] but their knocks are not serious. My strong point is the mental strength of the players and team combination,” said Jilani, who will coach in a tournament final for the first time.  

“Bashundhara are not only strong but the best team in the country. They have national players on the bench and world-class foreign recruits. But as long we are in the final, we can’t think (about) anything but winning and giving our best effort.”

Rahmatganj can take inspiration from Old Dhaka counterpart Farashganj Sporting Club and Arambagh Krira Sangha, who stunned the football arena by clinching the Independence Cup title in 2011 and 2018.