Muktis alive & kicking
After a disastrous last season, a new look Muktijoddha Sangsad yesterday began their conditioning camp at the Dinajpur BKSP under the supervision of veteran coach Golam Sarwar Tipu, who returned to the club coaching after 15 years.
Muktijoddha, who last season suffered financial crisis to form a team after their account was frozen by the caretaker government, narrowly escaped relegation to stay in the top flight finishing above demoted Khulna Abahani KC thanks to the players who donned the red shirts without taking any advanced payment.
Shrugging off the financial problem, the freedom fighters' team assembled some players from Brothers Union, Sheikh Russel KC and champions Abahani under their tent and retained the services of nine players, who were with them during the club's ghastly time. Manager Sattar said that they would complete the players' registration formalities today.
They added Abahani's substitute striker Shahaj Uddin Tipu, goalkeeper Atiqul Islam Tareq, Brothers Union defender Amit Khan Shuvro, medio Arup Kumar Baidya, Sheikh Russel KC medio Manwar Hossain, defender Mahmudul Hasan, Rony Islam with their old guys -- goalkeeper Nizam Majumdar, Firoj Mahmud Titu, Saifur Rahman Moni, Rokonuzzaman Kanchan, Ajmol Hossain Biddyut, Walid Khan, Tajul Islam and Jalal Uddin.
Coach Tipu said he was thinking of the B. League rather than the upcoming Federation Cup, mainly because of lack of the players' fitness.
"I have very little time in hand and my focus will be on the players' fitness in this camp," said Tipu. He said that there was no time to think about the Federation Cup and rather he was targeting the third position, leaving the top two positions for Abahani and Mohammedan.
According to Tipu, having experienced players in the side is both an advantage and disadvantage.
"It is good to have experienced players in the side as they will easily catch the instructions, but the question is that how they execute it, which totally depends on the players' fitness and ability and the objective of the training camp is to make them fit before the competition," said Tipu, whose last coaching stint was with Mohammedan SC in the 1993-94 season.
The former national footballer was a bit cautious about setting his target in the professional league, an event where Muktijoddha Sangsad with three wins finished 10th out of 11 participants in the last season.
"I will love to see my charges finish mid-table in the 13-team B. League this season and if the boys can do better than my expectation, it will be a plus point for me," said the former national coach.
Explaining his long absence from club coaching, Tipu said that he was busy with the boys of the Canary Wharf Football Academy for three years and got the offer from Mukti-joddha when he was still enjoying the coaching.
Muktijoddha's probable squad: Nizam Majumdar, Atiqul Islam Tareq, ATM Khairul Hasan Titu, Saifur Rahman Moni, Jalal Uddin, Manwar Hossain, Shahaj Uddin Tipu, Firoz Mahmud Titu, Rashidul Islam, Ashraf Hossain, Amit Khan Shuvro, Ajmol Hossain Biddyut, Rasel Ansari, Arup Kumar, Ronny Islam, Rokonuzzaman Kanchan, Amin Rana, Tajul Islam and Walid Khan.