Falling giants Brothers Union will hope to repeat a spirited performance to ensure their first final berth in the professional football era when the All Oranges take on Sheikh Russel KC in the first semifinal of Walton Independence Cup today.
The match will get underway at 4:30pm at the Bangabandhu National Stadium.
Brothers Union, once regarded as the third force in the country behind popular outfits Abahani and Mohammedan, never played in any tournament final since the introduction of professional football in 2007. Even though they clinched the Federation Cup title in the 2004-05 season and became runners-up in the 4th Independence Cup the same season, their performance has gone downwards during the professional era.
However, the Gopibagh-based outfit now have an opportunity to write new history for which they must upend the 2012 champions Sheikh Russel. Brothers had made it to the semifinals in the 7th Independence Cup in 2014 where they were beaten 2-0 by minnows Feni Soccer Club.
The challenge for Brothers is expected to be sterner this time as Sheikh Russel are seemingly determined to make it to the final after losing to Chittagong Abahani in semifinals of last edition.
Brothers, however, can draw inspiration from their long-serving Indian coach Syed Nayeemuddin, who has made his charges competitive and injected a belief to fight till the last minute. And their never-to-die attitude was evident in their come-from-behind victory in the quarterfinals against last edition's champions Arambagh KS.
“Football has changed a lot tactically and no one now is a big team on the ground; rather those who can implement game plan properly will come out on top. We are looking forward to playing the final,” said Brothers Union manager Amer Khan.
On the other hand, Sheikh Russel will also not leave any stone unturned in a bid to make their first final in six years since their treble winning 2012 season.
“Brothers have nothing to lose and will trying to play well, but we don't want to waste a good chance to qualify for the final as we are focused on winning the match,” Russel coach Saiful Bari Titu said.
In the final reckoning, though, the outcome may well be decided by the foreign players of the two sides.