Gambian coach Omar Sisse's Feni Soccer Club followed up their Independence Cup heroics with their first league win of the season when they handed mid-table side Team BJMC a 2-1 defeat in their Bangladesh Premier League match at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday.
The Independence Cup finalists came from behind to beat Team BJMC thanks to two second-half goals from Nigerian forward Chuka Charles, which saw them move off the bottom of the table and into eighth position with seven points from 10 outings. The defeat left Team BJMC in sixth position with 12 points from the same number of matches.
That Feni were no longer a punching bag in local football was evident from their superlative show in the Independence Cup, where they eventually lost in tiebreakers against Mohammedan on April 12. The turnaround was further evident yesterday as they notched their first league win and are looking forward to avoiding relegation.
“I am very much relieved with the three points and the first victory in the league and we will definitely avoid relegation,” said a relieved Sisse after the match.
The Feni outfit started the match in attacking vein but were also guilty of wasting opportunities. Midfielder Ajmal Hossain Biddyut missed a sitter in the 11th minute when he failed to keep his shot on target on a header from forward Kabba Jobe while Abdullah Al Mamun blasted the ball over the bar six minutes later.
Team BJMC took the lead, against the run of play in the 21st minute when defender Saiful Islam blasted an angular volley from inside the box to leave the Feni keeper stunned. Saif then made a goal-line clearance in the stoppage time of the first half when Feni's Nigerian striker Chuka Charles had gotten the better of the keeper.
But Charles did get the equaliser in the 58th minute with a neat placing shot after receiving a through ball from Mathew Mendy. Charles, who had switched from Mohammedan to Feni in the mid-season transfers, then completed the turnaround by scoring his second goal in a similar fashion to the first one just a minute before the end of regulation time.
“I am a young coach trying to develop myself. It may sound funny to some but I think I am helping myself more than my team. I want to develop the football here, I want my name to be here in Bangladesh football,” said an ambitious Sisse, who brought a few players from his native Gambia during mid-season, which led to the club's recent success.