The seven-week players’ transfer window for the upcoming Bangladesh Premier League closed quietly yesterday, unlike the penultimate day which had seen huge fanfare. Seven-time champions Abahani and other teams, except for Muktijoddha Sangsad KS, submitted their final players’ list to the Bangladesh Football Federation on the final day.
Even though Arambagh KS had earlier voiced their concern over taking part in the transfers, the former Independence Cup champions eventually submitted their players’ list after overcoming odds which they faced following the club’s involvement in illegal gambling.
Having shrugged off failure in the last edition’s premier league, Abahani are looking forward to fighting for all domestic titles as well as the AFC Cup by strengthening their defence, which conceded 28 goals in 26 league matches despite scoring highest 60 goals in the league, where they eventually finished second.
National defender Tapu Barman and midfielders Atiqur Rahman Fahad and Imtiaz Sultan Jitu left the Sky Blues to join rivals Bashundhara Kings and Sheikh Jamal while Abahani roped in defender Nasir Uddin Chowdhury and Sohel Rana Jr in place of Tapu and Fahad. The Sky Blues have seven current national team players in their squad.
They signed two foreign defenders -- Mailson Alves of Brazil and Aladdin Issa of Egypt -- along with Kyrgyz national team midfielder Edgar Bernhardt. The Dhanmondi-based outfit also retained the services of 25 players including Nigerian striker Sunday Chizoba and Haitian forward Kervens Belfort.
“Our observation of the last season is that we conceded too many goals. If we could have avoided that, we could have retained the league title. We considered this while roping in new players. We have strengthened the defence by signing two foreign defenders,” Abahani manger Satyajit Das Rupu said, adding that they now have a balanced side with 18 players capable of playing in the starting eleven.
Arambagh stay in top-flight
Arambagh KS’s effort to stun the established forces in the upcoming season had received a huge jolt following the club’s involvement with illegal gambling which forced the club to release all high-profile players they had contacted. The club even declared that they would not participate in the players’ transfers. But the club officials eventually managed to keep the outfit in top-flight football by signing up 34 players including six old ones and four foreigners.
“The local residents who were once involved with the club have taken the responsibility to form the squad by providing financial support even though I can’t mention their names at the moment,” Arambagh’s vice-president Ezaz Jahangir said. “We don’t know how to continue the training camp and arrange the accommodation of the players. We will seek help of administration and the football federation.”
Jahangir also believes they will be able to avoid relegation.
Muktijoddha Sangad KS, Rahmatganj MFS, Uttar Baridhara Club, Chittagong Abahani and Brothers Union also completed their registration formalities on the last day.
There was concern whether Mutkijoddha Sagnsad could complete the transfers’ following the casino scandal, but they have formed a better squad compared to the last season.
“It was possible because of the interest of the Liberation War Affairs Minister [AKM Mozammel Huq],” Muktijoddha Sangsad president Zahurul Islam Rohel said, adding that no players will be denied of regular payment.
Chittagong Abahani also formed a good squad and appointed UEFA A license coach Maruful Haque, who guided the side to runners-up finish in the Sheikh Kamal International Club Cup recently.