Bashundhara Kings Arena set for historic debut
The Bashundhara Kings Arena is set to become the first privately-owned football ground to host a match of the Bangladesh Premier League, the top-tier professional football of the country.
Situated in Block N of the Bashundhara Residential Area in the capital and owned by Bashundhara Group, the venue has so far been used to hold practice sessions and friendly matches of Bashundhara Kings, but today this modern facility will go into history books when it hosts the defending league champions against Bangladesh Police.
Although the venue is still a work in progress, at least six months away from becoming what it aspires to be -- a first-of-its-kind private football club with state-of-the-art facilities and certification to stage international matches -- the Kings Arena is already a thing to admire and be proud of.
And certainly proud was Bashundhara Kings president Imrul Hassan, who provided the invited journalists a glimpse of the Kings Arena -- a part of an establishment that promises to be a gigantic sports complex -- on the eve of its BPL debut yesterday.
"We don't have much to be proud of on the international stage. The sports complex would be something we can be really proud of," Hasan said in his speech.
"We will host international matches from next season. This venue will be of a standard to host even World Cup matches. We hope other clubs will be inspired by this and will follow our example," the Kings president added.
According to Hasan and the project officials, the stadium, once completed, will host 14,000 spectators with seating facilities and will have floodlights installed for staging night matches. For the moment, though, only limited spectators will be allowed through invitations for the BPL matches.
And Bashundhara Kings, the two-time defending champions, might as well need all of that support when they host Bangladesh Police today as they are currently fourth in the points table with six points, one behind Abahani and Sheikh Jamal and level with Saif Sporting Club, following three match-days.
Having missed out on the first two domestic titles of the season -- the Independence Cup and the Federation Cup -- the defending champions started with a defeat against newcomers Swadhinata KS before bouncing back with single-goal victories against Uttar Baridhara and Muktijoddha Sangsad KS.
Grappling with injuries to key players, the Leviathans of Bangladesh football can definitely allow themselves some breathing space, even if momentarily, with a victory today ahead of Sheikh Jamal's match against Rahmatganj later in the day at the Sylhet District Stadium.