The second leg of the Nitol Tata Bangladesh Premier League resumes tomorrow, two days after the completion of the Independence Cup football tournament, which was a perfect platform for the professional clubs to test their new recruits before offering them contracts in a bid to reinforce strength for the remaining 18 matches of the league.
Holders Sheikh Russel KC -- who are currently in sixth position and nine points behind leaders Sheikh Jamal DC -- will take on eighth placed Uttar Baridhara Club in the first match of the second leg, which starts tomorrow at 5:30pm at the Bangabandhu National Stadium.
Except for Team BJMC, all ten clubs roped in new players, mostly foreign ones, to fill the loopholes that they identified during the first leg. Most of their new signings have already been tested in the Independence Cup and the stage is now set for the new players to showcase further brilliance.
With the inclusion of new players, minnows like Feni Soccer, falling giants Brothers Union and struggling Mohammedan have gained a lot of strength, which was evident from the Independence Cup final between Feni Soccer and Mohammedan while giants like Abahani, Sheikh Russel, Sheikh Jamal and Muktijoddha Sangsad, despite drafting in new players, had to leave the tournament from the knockout stage.
It is an indication that the second and third leg of the professional football league is going to be a more competitive one for the title contenders. The relegation battle is also expected to be tough and clubs like Feni Soccer, who are languishing at the bottom, may even become big factors in the title race.
League leaders Sheikh Jamal DC, who are two points clear of Abahani, roped in three new foreign players in the attacking zone despite having an excellent forward line which includes Sony Norde, Wedson Anselme, Emeka Darlington and Ali Amisu. Abahani added Portuguese midfielder Neolindo Suares, who has already showed his potential brilliance in the Independence Cup, while the inclusion of Umaru Mustapha Suma from Sierra Leone will add extra edge in upfront.
Despite having nine points' deficit, Sheikh Russel are hoping to return to the title race as they have signed up two Serbian and one Czech Republic player.
Feni have also dramatically improved, thanks to the inclusion of four Gambian players while Mohammedan looked a different side in the Independence Cup after the inclusion of Nigerian defender Ubom Henry and midfielder Zongo Ousseni.