Super Cup bits
All eyes will be on Abahani and Mohammedan in today's Super Cup final that is worth Tk 1.20 crore but Brothers Union and Chittagong Mohammedan will try to entertain the crowd during the third-place playoff, which starts at 3 pm.
Both the losing semifinalists, however, could consider themselves unfortunate not to make the final pairing. Brothers gave Abahani a run for their money before losing 3-2 on aggregate while Chittagong Mohammedan went out after losing 3-2 on penalties to Dhaka Mohammedan.
And it would be a battle between two strong teams, who unlike the finalists, will not feel the heat of the huge difference of the prize moneys between the winners and losers.
The incentives for the third and fourth place finishers are Tk seven lakh and Tk six lakh respectively.
There would be more prizes. The most valuable player will drive home a red mini car that has been on display at the BNS since the start of the tournament.
It seems that three Abahani players, Ghana's Awudu Ibrahim, Nigerian Emeka Christian and Zahid Hasan Emily lead the race along with Mohammedan goalkeeper Aminul Haque.
Emeka is the top scorer with five goals, Ibrahim has been in tremendous form and also scored arguably the best goal of the tournament when he struck in a first-time volley from 40 yards against Brothers in the semifinal while national striker Emily's three goals have inspired Abahani two crucial come-from-behind wins.
Aminul saved three penalties against Chittagong Mohammedan in the tiebreakers to take his team into the final. Aminul is also in a battle to win the Tk one lakh best goalkeeper's award against his national team deputy Biplab Bhattachariya, who was in poor form in the first leg semifinal but returned to best in the next match, foiling a Brothers penalty in the first half of the second leg after starting the match as stand-in captain.
WHAT THEY SAID
Abahani captain Nazrul Islam did not play in the second leg semifinal but is certain to start today. "We are expecting the biggest crowd in 6-7 years. It would be a pressure on our nerves but also inspiring for football," said the recent national discard central defender.
"There will be little opportunities and we have to use it to win. We also want to finish the match in regulation time."
Sky Blues manager Satyajit Das Rupu believes his side are ready to give their best. "The honour matters most, the money is additional. We will play to win this tournament to end an excellent season on a high," said the former national midfielder adding that the club will offer a big bonus for the team if they win.
"We have played well in all but one match but the final is another game. It depends on how the players react to the situation during the match. If it goes into penalties, things could be different because we haven't lost to Mohammedan in the last 5-6 years other than tiebreakers."
Mohammedan manager Amirul Islam Babu wants to use the money for the future of the team.
"If we win this trophy, we will use the prize money to hold on to the players for the next season," said Babu.
Arman Aziz was upbeat about the final and reminded that Mohammedan will play their best football. "We will correct our mistakes and play to win the trophy. The management has been with us round the clock for the past three days to motivate us," said the Black And Whites captain, who missed the first leg semifinal through suspension.