One professional league title in their debut season, a Federation Cup win and a trophy from abroad in the beginning of the next season – Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club's return to top-flight football couldn't have been any better.
That was until the early part of the last season. However, that initial success could not be sustained following a mass exodus of star players and even chopping and changing of coaches did little to stop the rot. The result was a lowly sixth-place finish the following season.
That ignominious result is perhaps what egged them on to get on the transfer market early and also start preparation a long before some of the other clubs. Boasting seven players from the national side and seven from the U-23 side, Sheikh Jamal's bench ably complements it's main eleven. They can boast of having the deadliest strike force -- Sunday Chizoba and Mike Otojareri who scored 10 goals together in the Fed Cup – in their side. Those two will be ably supplemented by Kester Akon, Towhidul Alam, Sohel Rana and the likes. The midfield is solid which includes Shakil Ahmed, Shahedul Alam, Enamul Haque Sharif and Monaem Khan Raju among others. However, if there is a weak point it's in the centre of defence which has been left weaker by the departure of Monday. At goal though they have the safe hands of young national keeper Mostakur Rahman.
Their coach Joseph Afusi, who has only been promoted from player-cum-assistant coach to a full coach this season, has been impressive with his handling of team and style of play in the Federation Cup where they lost the final in extra time against Sheikh Russel KC.
Afusi is confident that he has got the players at his disposal who can go the distance “It's my first time as a coach. I know the challenge. But I'm a hungry coach and I want to win. We have the best players from the country and abroad. So, we should be champions,” is the observation of the young Nigerian.
There is a growing number of instances in Europe where fresh young coaches, who have just finished their playing career and taken the coach's job, turning around the flagging fortunes of clubs with their unique philosophy of football and good man-management skills Afusi's boys certainly have the quality to endow their coach with success in his first season.