Producing players is the main motto of NoFel Sporting Club rather than winning a trophy, club president Tabith Awal said on Monday as it celebrated its recent triumph of Bangladesh Football Federation Under-18 Football Tournament.
NoFel, a platform of three districts of greater Noakhali area – Noakhali, Feni and Lakshmipur – beat Saif Sporting Club 1-0 in the final of the fourth edition of the tournament on October 2 to claim its maiden title in domestic football.
The title eased the pain of the club for its relegation from Bangladesh Premier League this season and motivated it to invest more in youth football as it sought to return to country’s top-flight football and make a contribution in the development of the game.
‘Yes, we won a domestic title for the first time. But our main philosophy is to produce players, investing in young talent. The main target of NoFel is to producing footballers for the national side,’ said Tabith, also the vice-president of the Bangladesh Football Federation, in an interview with New Age.
Tabith said their investments in young talents have already produced results as the club not only claimed its maiden title in Under-18 tournament, two of its players starred for Bangladesh in recent SAFF Under-18 Championship in India.
‘Mainly we focused on investing in young players as I believed if they were given good training they would produce a good game. By doing it we can also produce players for the top-tier league and the national side,’ he said.
‘Only looking at winning the Under-18 title is not enough. Our two players were in Bangladesh’s best XI in the final of recent SAFF Under-18 Championship, which we lost against India, unfortunately, playing with nine men,’ he added
NoFel’s left-winger Sadekuzzaman Fahim and right-back Jamir Uddin represented Bangladesh in the SAFF Under-18 Championship 2019 in Nepal and played a key role in the team’s runners-up finish.
Tabith, who was also a decent footballer in his playing life, said they are content with their present role in domestic football.
‘If you notice our premier league you would see always there are some teams who only produce players. You can say we our position is like this now,’ he said.
As part of their endeavour, Tabith said NoFel is already running some football academies in Noakhali and Chittagong under the supervision of some local players, where school students and locals get chances to play and try to be part of a player of the club’s junior team.
Tabith hoped the young players of the side would help them return to the Bangladesh Premier League next season from second-tier Bangladesh Championship League, but promised not to stand in the way of anyone if he chose other clubs.
‘Our short-term target is to advance into the premier league. We will try to keep our players for BCL. But if anyone gets a chance to play in the BPL clubs, we will release him,’ he said.
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