Grameenphone Super Cup
MSC look to catch Jamal off-guard
Mohammedan Sporting Club will be aiming to earn at least some silverware this season through reaching the final of the Grameenphone Super Cup as the defending champions face off Bangladesh League champions Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club in the first semifinal of the season’s ending tournament at the Bangabandhu National Stadium today.
The game will get underway at 3:30pm with state-owned Bangladesh Television telecasting the match live from the venue.
Mohammedan could not do justice to their name this season after being eliminated from the group stage of the Federation Cup and then failed to reach the Independence Cup final before finishing sixth in the 12-team league table. But a depleted Mohammedan showed some spirit in the latter part of the league and then came up with two well deserved draws against Muktijoddha Sangsad and Sheikh Russel on their way to reaching the Super Cup semifinal.
Mohammedan coach Shafiqul Islam Manik found their latter performances a reason to be optimistic about.
“On the paper, we are weaker side than Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club but if you consider our performance in the Super Cup so far and the concluded professional football league, we put up consistent performance against all superior sides. Now we are hopeful that we can reach the final by putting another spirited show,” said Manik.
The Motijheel-based outfit turned into a more balanced side in the Super Cup with the inclusion of a few players on loan from other clubs. The Black and Whites will rely heavily on Nigerian striker Sunday Chizoba and on-loan winger Touhidul Alam, who is deadly from set pieces, for taking the up mantle of scoring.
On the other hand, Sheikh Jamal, who confirmed the semifinal after thrashing Brothers Union 6-1 and playing out a goalless draw against Abahani, are seemingly in backfoot with the discomfort of being punished after playing a compromised match with Rahmatganj MFS during the league. Coach Packeer Ali though feels that it would not affect the match.
“It is not that the players will have to recover the club image through winning the Super Cup, rather the players will have to prove themselves on the pitch as most of them are national booters.
“The national players of our team are all motivated and spirited at this moment after winning against Lebanon in the World Cup pre-qualifier,” said Packeer Ali, who however did not confirm how many of the national booters will be picked for today’s match.
Apart from the discomfort of being punished, Sheikh Jamal may have to do with a lack of motivation on the part of their players as some of them are set to leave Sheikh Jamal. But captain Aminul Haque believes that will not affect their performance on pitch.
“I don’t think choosing a different club for next season will affect our play in this tournament. As long as we are part of this club, club’s achievement is of paramount importance to each player,” said Aminul.
-With The Daily Star input