Six-time professional football league champions Abahani pulled out of the Sheikh Kamal International Club Cup, putting preparations for the tournament in jeopardy.
The Dhanmondi-based club, which was founded by Bangabandhu’s eldest son Sheikh Kamal, sent a letter to the organising committee of the tournament on Wednesday evening, with the official line being their inability to field a strong team for this tournament.
“We are not able to participate in the Sheikh Kamal International Club Cup due to not being able to put together a strong team,” said the official letter, signed by the club’s acting director Kazi Nabil Ahmed.
It has been learnt that Gokulam Kerala FC, an I-league club, have been invited to replace Abahani. Although the Kerala-based outfit have given their verbal consent to participate, organisers Chattogram Abahani could not confirm without a written statement from the club.
Abahani were pitted in Group B of the eight-team tournament, with Bangladesh Premier League champions Bashundhara Kings, I-League champions Chennai City FC and Terengganu FC of Malaysia being the three other teams.
Group A features defending champions TC Sports Club of Maldives, first-edition champions Chattogram Abahani along with Kolkata giants Mohun Bagan and Young Elephant FC of Laos.
The tournament is scheduled to be held from October 19 to 30 at the MA Aziz Stadium in Chattogram. The winning team will receive 50,000 dollars as prize money while the runners-up will get 25,000 dollars. Each of the eight teams will get 10,000 dollars as participation money.