Relegation fears irk minnows
All the giants of the professional football league have already brought their respective squads in good shape, having ensured the services of country's top booters, leaving the lightweights worried about their ability to form squads that will be able to avoid relegation.
It is evident that giants like Bangladesh League champions Abahani, runners-up Mohammedan, newcomers Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club, rejuvenated Muktijoddha Sangsad and new powerhouse Sheikh Russel KC with their local collection are going to be the major challengers in the upcoming season.
For the rest of the seven minnows, a couple of sides have yet to start the process of forming their squads ahead of the September 1-20 players' transfer. As it stands, most of the sides will be glad only to avert relegation rather than fight the giants neck to neck.
The lightweights have been trying to retain the services of their veterans while keeping their eyes on the new players from the ongoing senior division football league and it is clear that there will be not much difference amongst the lightweights Brothers, Farashganj, Rahmatganj, Arambagh, Chittagong Mohammedan, Chittagong Abahani and Feni Soccer Club.
However, the key point irking all the minnows is that they are all worried about their fate if they are relegated from the B. League. As things stand currently, there are no specific guidelines on how teams can return to the B. League once they are relegated. There is no existence of a second-tier league system where teams relegated in the B. League can participate, and this has created a huge headache for the sides that fear the ignominy.
As per the bylaws, two teams will be relegated from the Bangladesh League. Three teams have already been demoted from the prestigious competitions in the three editions of the league, and since the Bangladesh Football Federation has yet to roll out the second and third tier professional football leagues there are fears that the relegated teams will remain in the wilderness for too long.
"The BFF has gotten enough time to evaluate the professional league that actually harmed our football and failed to improve our football standard as well as produce players and I think they should think about it," said Brothers Union football manager Amer Khan.
"We welcomed newcomers Sheikh Jamal, but do not support the way they were permitted and it happened because the BFF has yet to roll the second tier league," Amer said. "If we can't make a good team this time, we may pull ourselves out of the league and will come back to the top fray after a system is built up."
The former national player, however, said that they have six to seven 'binding players' from last season and was trying to rope in younger players.
"Rahmatganj MFS is a 75-year-old club and think about where we will play if we face relegation because there is no existence of the premier division league," said general secretary Tipu Sultan adding that they would begin the process of forming the squad within a week as soon as Mostafa Jalal Mohiuddin MP is confirmed as president of Rahmatganj.
Arambagh KS vice president Golam Mohammad Alamgir informed that they have already retained the service of six to seven players, who were members of the team last season and said that they were also trying to rope in players from relegated teams Beanibazar SC and Narayanganj Shuktara Jubo Sangsad.
Alamgir also said that they would sit with other teams to discuss about relegation.
Farashganj SC general secretary M Sahid said their club have been going through financial problems and would request the BFF to defer the transfer activity by one to two months.
Chittagong Mohammedan's football manager Mohammad Yousuf informed that they would start making the squad after the club meeting on Thursday though they had initially talked to some of their old players.
Feni Soccer Club have suffered the most casualties following the moves of the giants as most of their players joined Abahani, Mohammedan and Sheikh Russel after Sheikh Jamal and Muktijoddha bought out the players of two giants.
"Money makes the difference and it is hard to keep the mediocre players because the heavyweights are spending huge money for them and we have no alternative but to form a youthful side," said Feni Soccer Club general secretary Golam Rabbani.