Chittagong Abahani sacked their head coach Saiful Bari Titu yesterday following the port city outfit's late dip in form which saw them drop eight points in the last three matches, all but extinguishing their chances of winning the Bangladesh Premier League title.
Last year's runners-up Chittagong Abahani were leading the points table at the end of the 17th round with 42 points. They looked on course for their first-ever professional league title with five rounds remaining, having a two-point lead over the then second-placed Sheikh Jamal DC and a three-point lead over current leaders Dhaka Abahani. However, the charges of Titu suddenly lost their way and are in third position now with only two games remaining.
“He [Titu] could not deliver results as per our requirements. He could not motivate the players either. These are the reasons why we have sacked him,” Chittagong Abahani's football committee chairman Ruhul Amin Tarafder said, adding that Titu himself was also seeking for release from the club, which had appointed the former national footballer and AFC-A licensed coach ahead of the Sheikh Kamal International Club Championship in March last year.
Chittagong Abahani lost their 18th round fixture against lowly Muktijoddha Sangsad 2-0 and were held to a 1-1 draw by Brothers Union in the following round before suffering a 1-3 defeat to Sheikh Jamal DC on Sunday. The latest defeat has virtually pushed them out of the title race as they are now five points short of five-time champions Abahani, who can lift the title if they beat three-time champions Sheikh Jamal DC in their next match on Friday.
Tarafder informed that assistant coach Julfiker Mahmud Mintu has been given the responsibility to guide the team in their last two matches.
Titu becomes the second coach to be terminated following the sacking of Farashganj SC coach Abu Yusuf earlier in the league. There have been a few instances of coaches leaving clubs of their own accord, though, including departures of Sheikh Jamal's Joseph Afusi and Abahani's Drago Mamic.