As the curtain fell on the Bangladesh Premier League on Friday with Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club, Abahani Limited and Muktijoddha Sangsad Krira Chakra finishing as the top three teams but worryingly the platform for their success were provided by the goal machines from the land of Africa. In a country when the league’s ‘top-scores’ were used to be the local stars like Mohammad Aslam, Abdus Salam Murshedi and Kazi Salauddin, these days it is a rare thing for a home-grown hitman.
The good news is that the BFF has finally decided to cut down the quota of foreign players from the next season with a view to creating more opportunity for the local footballers.
Despite the supremacy of the African forwards, there were two local strikers who look their places at the top of the scoring chart. They are Wahed Ahmed of Mohammedan Sporting Club and Mithun Chowdhury of Sheikh Russell Krira Chakra. Wahed finished joint fourth with 15 goals along with Sunday Chizuba of Muktijoddha Sangsad KC while Mithun was just behind them in fifth firing 14 goals.
Mohammedan ended their league campaign in fourth place while Russell, the last edition’s champions, finished sixth in the points table.
It was a blessing in disguise for both Wahed and Mithun as their teams didn’t solely depend only on their foreign recruits, they both got the opportunity to play the key roles in the striking zone and they proved their potential.
Wahed, who missed a few matches in the early stages of the league due to injury, scored eight goals in the third and last leg of the league.
In the first leg he scored only two goals but started to hit the top gear from the second-leg.
Though, Wahed failed to bag a single hat-trick in the league, he scored twice on three occasions, which gave the black and white outfit some important points in the last two legs.
Wahed was full of praise of his club for giving him the opportunity to prove his worth.
‘I give thanks to my club for giving me more playing time,’ a satisfied Wahed told New Age on Saturday.
Mohammedan scored overall 36 goals in their 27 matches and only three of them were scored by their foreign players. That tells the story how effective Wahed and his local team-mates were.
‘The club and team management kept their faith in us [local players] and we tried our best to give them the result. If you see our performance graph, you will find that most of the goals were scored by our local players,’ said Wahed.
The 21-year old striker has set his sights on the next season and though he already has some offers from some top clubs he wants to stay with Mohammedan.
‘I have been playing for Mohammedan for the last three years and they have honoured me in many ways. I led the team in the last five matches in the absence of Ameli Bhai [regular captain Zahid Hasan Ameli]. In the next season I want to stay with them as they gave me chances to play regularly. Though I have already got offers from some top clubs, I want to stay with them.’
So, after having a fine domestic campaign the national striker wants to move a step ahead by also performing for the country in the upcoming Asian Games in September.
‘After the Eid-ul-Fitr, my target is to take full preparation for the Asian Games. If the coach [Lodewijk de Kruif] picks me, I will try to give my best to bring something for the nation.’ added Wahed.
The story of Mithun is almost similar to Wahed as Russell played him on a regular basis throughout the season.
Mithun scored nine goals in three games against the relegated Uttar Baridhara, hitting hat-tricks twice including five goals in the third one.
Not only in the league, Mithun also found the net in the AFC President’s Cup qualifying round, Federation Cup and Independence Cup.
He was the main architect for Russell’s qualification for the final round of the AFC President’s Cup, hitting four goals in three matches and scoring five times in the two domestic tournaments. He also scored for the national team in the last FIFA friendly match against India in March this year.
‘I’m very happy with my form but if I played for a better side like Sheikh Jamal or Abahani, I would have scored more goals in the league,’ said Mithun.
The 27-year-old striker was confident that after his good showing in the league he will be selected for the national team for the Asian Games as one of the three senior players.
‘If the coach [de Kruif] keeps his faith in me, I will try to continue my form in the Asian Games and I also want to perform for Russell in the final round of AFC President’s Cup.’
-With New Age input