For the forthcoming season, the former treble winners are seeking better fortune from their whole new foreign collection
Pedro Henrique was one of most high-profile signings of Sheikh Russel Krira Chakra last season. Brazilian-born East Timorese striker could only play first game of Federation Cup before injury ruled him out. He received setback after three matches in the Premier League which required a surgery.
Hopes on former Australian international midfielder Chris Herd with English Premier League background also didn’t go as expected.
They couldn’t overcome group round obstacle of Federation Cup by goal difference and managed only single win out of six matches of the league before the Covid-19 suspension.
For the forthcoming season, the former treble winners are seeking better fortune from their whole new foreign collection comprising Kyrgyzstan midfielder Baktyiar Duyshobekov, Tajikistan defender Siyovush Asrorov, Nigerian DM Obi Moneke and Brazilian striker Giancarlo Rodrigues. Only the last one does not have any Bangladesh Premier League experience.
Baktyiar played for Bashundhara Kings for two seasons and expected to bring versatility in midfield and more attacking options. Moneke and Asrorov proved their worth on occasions for Mohammedan and Rahmatganj last season. Rodrigues played in Malaysia and Indonesia but yet to arrive in Dhaka.
“We emphasized most on foreign players because last season we didn’t get enough service from them in terms of performance,” head coach Saiful Bari Titu told Dhaka Tribune about their transfer activities for 2020-21 season.
He added, “It didn’t favour us due to injury. The foreigners couldn’t deliver even half of what we expected. If it clicks this time and we may play as a team, then anything is possible with a winning combination.”
Among local recruits, the club released six and replaced them with midfielder Md Rumon from Mohammedan and defender Didarun Haque from Arambagh while the rest are young recruits with no top-flight experience.
The club began preparation less than a month ago and yet to recover fitness from pandemic break which was evident during their 3-0 defeat against Saif Sporting Club in the first pre-season friendly last week.
“The players are not in normal state after long break. I think pandemic effect will be there in every team throughout the Federation Cup because of no training for long time. Our fitness level is not that bad but we will know better once we play more games,” said Titu.
“Competitiveness is increasing every season. Quality of foreign players has improved. The clubs used to stick to old foreigners but not anymore. So it will be competitive.
“No game will be easy. We will try to overcome group obstacle, then, step forward match by match. Target is to be champions,” he said about their goal in the curtain raiser competition starting on 22 December.
The club has been training at the playground of United International University (UIU) in the capital’s Beraid area.
Titu may have headache to blend the team together in short time as their two key signings Baktyiar and Rodrigues are yet to join the camp which he blamed Covid-19 situation for late arrival. He concluded, “Above all, it’s a matter of great joy that the game returns after a long hiatus.”