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বাংলা
Dhaka Tribune

Even-sided affairs expected in first ever franchise hockey league

7 World Cup players will take part in the league, boosting its popularity

Update : 28 Oct 2022, 10:29 AM

The skippers of the participating teams of the Hockey Champions Trophy are expecting even affairs during the matches as the country's first ever franchise hockey league begins at Maulana Bhashani Stadium Friday.

All the teams have had almost similar length of preparation time after the national and foreign players were distributed evenly at the players' draft ceremony, which prompted the captains to predict competitive encounters in every match.

The six participating corporate teams are Walton Dhaka, Acme Chattogram, Metro Express Barishal, Saif Power Khulna, Monarch Mart Padma and Rupayan Group Cumilla.

“The six teams are identical. Nobody can say any team is small or big. Every match will be high voltage affair,” said Chattogram skipper and local icon Rezaul Karim Babu during a pre-tournament presser Thursday.

Dhaka's local icon and captain Ashraful Islam said, “There are only three-four big teams in the league [Premier Division Hockey League] but here every team is favorite. Every match will be big match.”

Beep tests were done to pick the local players for the draft but there is still concern over their fitness because of no involvement in any competitive tournament for more than a year.

The current Bangladesh Krira Shikkha Protishthan players are expected to be more fit.

The preparation began at the middle of the month but teams got all their members together for only few days before the competition.

There was no beep test for the foreigners who joined the team around a week ago.

Team combinations could also be a worry in the early stages as the foreign head coaches arrived late.

Captains are nevertheless confident of being fit enough for the meet but they nitpicked about not getting enough players in the squad comprising 18 members, including 14 local and four foreign recruits.

“The performance would have been enhanced if there were more players considering injury risk. It would be better if there were three-four more players in the squad,” said Barisal captain Roman Sarkar.

Seven World Cup players will be competing in the league for five teams.

They are Argentina's Juan Martin Lopez and Guido Barreiros, India's SV Sunil, Chinglesana Singh and Jasjit Singh, and Malaysia's Azri Hasan and Fitri Saari.

Hopes are there that the junior players of the national team will be boosted after getting company from quality foreign recruits throughout the competition.

“New players will rise up. They are having best facility, foreign coaches and players. They can learn from them,” said Imran Hasan Pintu of Monarch Mart Padma, the team owned by superstar cricketer Shakib al Hasan. 

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