Mohammedan started their preparation camp at the middle of last month
Mohammedan Sporting Club, one of the two most successful and popular clubs in domestic football’s history has been struggling over the last few years due to many factors in and off the field. However, the fallen giant is eying to regain the glory days and for that reason they seem to keep faith on young players as part of long-term plan.
Mohammedan started their preparation camp at the middle of last month after long pandemic break and their futuristic vision was evident as they released more than half-a-dozen players from the last season and replaced them with a group of young players.
The new faces are unlikely to get much game times this season while the old ones except a couple of new foreign recruits are going to represent the Black and Whites on the pitch in order to carry on their fine form since head coach Sean Lane took the charges over one and half year ago.
It has been a general concern regarding the fitness of the players after seven-month Covid-19 halt but Lane was surprised to find the status of his disciples after he arrives here on 15 November, three days before the camp was commenced.
“They surprised me how fit they were. We gave them programmes to do when we were away. They came back same weight either one kilo above or one kilo below. I did a lot of fitness work since we have been back. They are already in good shape,” Lane told Dhaka Tribune Wednesday.
Curtain raiser Federation Cup kicks off on 22 December. Lane hopes that his players will be 90 percent ready for the first fixture. He expects better from the side in the first professional domestic tournament during the pandemic. “We got knocked out from semifinals last year. I thought we were probably better team in most of the games but couldn’t score. We try to win every game.”
Despite having an average squad with no national team player, Mohammedan transformed into a reckoning force since the arrival of Lane who had offers from other clubs of Bangladesh and Australia after the first season but decided to stay back.
“Everybody is the same. It doesn’t matter whether you are foreign player or local. Whether you are 18 years old or 28, I treat everybody the same. Everybody knows that if you don’t work hard you don’t play,” said the English coach.
“I felt like we just started something and I want to try and finish the job (winning trophy). That’s the first thing. I really like the people I’m working with,” He said before replying to different query whether they have chance this time, “Everything is possible. You need to dream big and aim high and that’s what I told my players.”
The club kept two foreign players from previous season, Malian striker Souleymane Diabate and Japanese midfielder Uryu Nagata. Two new signings, Burkina Faso defender Mounzir Coulidiati and Nigerian midfielder Mohammed Abiola Nurat will join soon.
The team has been training at different grounds in the capital including Kamalapur stadium, BFF astro turf, Dhaka University field and Paltan outer stadium. They played a practice match against Saif Sporting and preparing for another next week before the season kicks off.
Mohammedan couldn’t make it to the Federation Cup final in last one decade. They finished among top four in the premier league only four times during that period when their biggest success was winning the Super Cup in 2013 and Independence Cup the following year.
The coach has not shared anything directly about his goal of the season but team manager Imtiaz Ahmed Nakib said that the club wants to reach the final of two Cups and finish among top four in the Bangladesh Premier League.