Abahani buckle up to dethrone Kings
The last time the country's renowned outfit Abahani tasted glory was through the Federation Cup during the 2018-19 season, in which Bashundhara Kings, now a new powerhouse, first arrived in the top-flight domestic circuit. Since that triumph, Abahani failed to destabilise Kings, who clean-swept all five trophies in the past three seasons.
Six-time Premier League champions Abahani had previously relied on aged players, who were far from their peak to compete with Kings on level terms but this time the crowd-puller Sky Blues have banked on some proven campaigners from the national team and heavily boosted by the inclusion of a quality foreign player like Costa Rica's Daniel Colindres, who was pivotal for Kings in their successful debut season.
"The club management decided to release all senior players to replace them with the youth and proven ones. So Abahani this time formed a better squad compared to the last season," Abahani manager Satyajit Das Rupu told The Daily Star while informing that they signed up some national players from Bashundhara Kings, Chittagong Abahani, Saif SC, Sheikh Jamal DC and recruited a Brazilian striker, an Irani defender in their ranks and also retained Brazilian midfielder Raphael Augusto.
Meanwhile, Bashundhara Kings formed another strong squad, as expected, in a bid to seal all three trophies as they signed up approximately 15 national players including Sohel Rana from Abahani, Suman Reza of Uttar Baridhara, Mehdi Hasan of Muktijoddha Sangsad and Yeasin Arafat of Saif SC while having retained the services of Brazilian Robson Da Silva, Jonathan Da Fernandes and Iranian Khaled Shafiei and signed up Bosnian former forward Stojan Vranjes as well.
"By keeping our team combination intact, we have increased our strength by signing up new players for the reserve bench. Besides, the inclusion of a Bosnian striker strengthened our attacking line-up," said Kings technical director BA Jubair Nipu.