Eleta marks call-up with a brace
Eleta Kingsley, who is awaiting clearance from FIFA to represent Bangladesh in the upcoming SAFF Championship, made a bold statement as his brace powered league champions Bashundhara Kings to an emphatic 3-0 win over Saif SC in a Bangladesh Premier League encounter at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday.
The Nigeria-born forward was drafted into Bangladesh's 34-member preliminary squad and staked his claim to a spot in the final squad with goals in the 54th and 63rd minutes.
"As I haven't been informed about a national team call-up, I can't make any comments. But it is my job to perform. The national team has a coach who knows exactly what he is looking for. If he is okay with me, he can select me. If he is not okay with me, he can go for the next best option. Today, I just tried to give my best and play according to my coach's instructions," Kingsley said after the match yesterday, adding that he had received no information about his eligibility to represent Bangladesh.
National team and Saif SC captain Jamal Bhuiyan appreciated Kingsley's inclusion in the squad and opined that the national team needed a striker with the ability to hold up the ball.
"We need a striker who can hold up the ball up front because we don't have a No. 9. Those who usually play up front for the national team play as wingers in the league. So Kingsley can be a good option in this position," Jamal said, adding that Bangladesh should play on the counter at the SAFF Championship.
"Of course we want to win the SAFF Championship but we want to think match by match. We have to work hard in training and start training immediately because the players could lose their fitness due to a big gap. We tried a new formation, a 3-4-3, in Kyrgyzstan but it did not work well, so I think we have to go back to basics."
Jamal also believes that collecting 10 points from four matches would give Bangladesh a big chance to reach the final.
"We need minimum of 10 points to play the final," said Jamal. "Of course we have a chance to win three matches and draw one. We recently played against Palestine and Kyrgyzstan, who are higher ranked sides, but if we play against teams ranked between 145 to 190, we have a chance to win matches," said Jamal.
Brazilian forward Robson Da Silva also had good news, hitting his 20th league goal of the season in the 80th minute to overtake Sheikh Jamal DC's Pa Omar Jobe as the league's top scorer.
Having previously confirmed back-to-back league titles with four games to spare, Kings raised their tally to 61 points from 22 matches. They will play two more matches, which were suspended due to their AFC Cup engagements. Meanwhile, Saif SC finished in fourth place in the 13-team table with 44 points after completing all 24 league matches.