Booters' transfer ends | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 21, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, June 21, 2008

B. League

Booters' transfer ends

Brothers, Mohammedan gain


ENJOYING A RARE RIDE: Mohammedan footballers head for the BFF House on horse-driven stagecoaches yesterday to complete the transfer formalities for the coming season.Photo: STAR

The transfer trails for the 2008 football season ended yesterday amid rain, some fun and hope for the game to return to the ground after a yearlong wilderness.
However, there were no fans to greet even the popular Mohammedan Sporting Club, who arrived at the BFF Bhaban with their latest recruits piled on horse-ridden carriages in a bid to add some excitement to an otherwise dull day.
All speculations of Muktijoddha Sangsad not competing or playing under a different name were brushed aside when the local giants signed 20 footballers on the final day of the transfer procedures that began on May 15.
Although defending champions Abahani, the only team out of 11 not to play with a new-look side, had completed formalities in the first week of the bourse, the remaining title contenders decided to play the waiting game and crowded the transfer scene in the eleventh hour.
Brothers Union, one of the heavyweights to feast on the departing Muktijoddha footballers, seemed to get rid off the financial crisis that hit the Gopibagh club earlier this year and roped in midfielder Matiur Munna on the final day.
The former Bangladesh international, who was billed to stay with crisis-struck Muktijoddha, apparently and logically did not want to sacrifice a year's salary.
"In fact, no Muktijoddha officials contacted me although they had said they would play this year. I had no offer and the uncertainty forced me to accept Brothers' offer," said Munna whose long-time colleague Arman Miah, the brightest midfielder of his generation, has already decided to end his domestic career in sheer frustration.
Brothers, who finished fifth in last year's B. League, seemed to build a seasoned team that can go for the championship.
Apart from bringing in Sheikh Russel shot-stoppers Zia and Shakil, they recruited defenders Ariful (Mohammedan), Mishu (Russel), Arup, Liton, Rony Islam (Farashganj), midfielders Juku (Arambagh), Rikta (Russel), wingers Abdullah Parvez (Abahani) and Zahed (Mohammedan) and Mohammedan striker Farhad.
Brothers also retained their own Shuvra, Rony, Shakil, Masud Rana, Liton Khan, Rezaul Karim Liton, Tapu and Manju.
Brothers manager Amer Khan was confident that he has the best local squad.
"We have a squad where it would be difficult to choose the first eleven. We have a very strong team of backups. In the long run, having more quality players is the key to success," said Amer, whose side will be looked after by head coach Sajjad Hossain Lavlu and former national winger Wasim Iqbal as his assistant.
"Still, to win the league, we need to add quality foreign players."
After finishing distant runners-up with their youngest and inexperienced side ever, Mohammedan returned to the tradition of assembling top notch booters.
National captain and number one custodian Aminul Haque returned to the black and whites after 13 years while his fellow Muktijoddha players Rajani and Arman Aziz also decided to come back. Others to join from the Reds tent are Hassan Al Mamun and Maruf Ahmed.
Mohammedan, who kept just half a dozen players -- Himel, Kamal, Sharif, Mithu, Roni, Ripon -- from their previous squad, retracted Faisal Mahmud (Brothers) and Pappu (Russel) while adding three promising members of the national team, Chittagong Mohammedan centre-back Saikat, Farashganj striker Robin and Fakirerpool sharpshooter Komol.
"It's good to return to a side where I spent the 1994-95 season under a rookie contract. The overall team look good and I feel Mohammedan have managed to stay in line with the tradition of having top players of the country," commented Aminul.
Hassan Al Mamun said he had fantasised playing for Mohammedan after being with Abahani and Muktijoddha.
"We have a balanced team and addition of quality foreign players will make us real contenders. We also have a technically strong coach in AKM Maruf, whose knowledge and analysis will help us play modern football for our huge fans," said the fullback.
Rahmatganj and Khulna Abahani were the others teams to finish the job on the last day, forming mediocre teams who will have to fight to stay above the relegation zone.
Although there had been no demotion in the inaugural B. League, one team will be relegated this year.
Diganta Prasari of Rajshahi finally stayed out despite getting the nod to play in the competition, which is expected to start in August.
The season is likely to kick off in the third week of July with the Federation Cup, which will be held after two years.

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