MSC battles to come out of casino’s shadow 

Staff Correspondent | Published: 00:00, Nov 19,2019


Former players stepped in to help Mohammedan Sporting Club form a decent squad for the upcoming Bangladesh Premier League football after a recent casino scandal put the club in turmoil.

The Motijheel outfit is expected to complete its registration of the players at the Bangladesh Football Federation house with festive mood today.

Club organisers said they planned to bring out a rally, where all participants would wear its old-fashioned jersey before moving to the BFF.

MSC have already confirmed the signature of 30 players for form a team, which included 25 local and five foreign players for 13-team top-tier league of the country, club officials said.

The club retained its 10 players of the previous team, including two foreign players - Malian forward Souleymane Diabate and Japanese midfielder Uryu Nagata.

Diabate scored highest eight goals for MSC in the 11th BPL while Nagata scored two.

The new three foreign recruits are defender Ousmane Berthe of Mali and defender Stanley Onyekachi Amadi of Nigeria and midfielder Ugochukwu Obi Moneke of Nigeria.

Ousmane last played for Al Muaither SC of Qatar while Amadi for New Youngs FC of Sri Lanka and Moneke for Ministry of National Defence FC of Cambodia.

Among local recruits the club retained goalkeeper Ahsan Habib Bipu, defender Abid Hossain, midfielders Habibur Rahman Shohag, Shamol Bepari, Yousuf Sifat, Anik Ghosh, Mohammad Mithu and forward Amir Hakim Bappi.

The new recruits are reigning BPL champions Bashundhara Kings midfielder Sohanur Rahman, Saif Sporting Club forward Ousai Mong Marma, Chattogram Abahani midfielders Anik Hossain and Shahed Hossain, Sheikh Russel KC midfielder Rumnon Hossain, Sheikh Jamal DC goalkeeper Hossain Sujon, Arambagh KS goalkeeper Mazharul Islam Himel, defender Atiquzzaman, NoFel Sporting Club midfielder Farad Mona, defenders Masud Rana Mredha, Kamrul Islam, Sadekuzzaman Fahim,  Muktijoddha SKC midfielder Sayed Rakib Khan Evan, Army team goalkeeper Jasim Uddin, Feni Soccer Club defender Humyayun Kabir Khan.

MSC faced relegation threat with 12th position and six points after the end of first-leg of the last edition before finishing ninth with 25 points from 24 games finally.

After a poor start in the 11th edition, MSC brought British-born Australian coach Shaun Lane in the middle of the league in April, who finally helped them avoid relegation.

The club’s participation in the upcoming BPL, which is expected to start in early next year, became uncertain when its director in-charge Lokman Hossain Bhuiyan was arrested on September 25 due to his involvement in running illegal casino business at club premises.

Rapid Action Battalion conducted a drive against casino business at the capital club hub in September and found the involvement of at least six clubs with the illegal business. 

In another development, Supreme Court Bar Association president AM Aminuddin was given the responsibility to act as the interim president of Mohammedan by court replacing former president Obaidul Karim.

MSC permanent member Badal Roy had to act to save the club and succeeded in forming a decent team.

‘Our target was to form a good team and produce players for national team,’ Badal said.  

‘After the casino incidence, as a former player, I felt some responsibility. I communicated with all former players, organisers and well-wishers to revive the club environment. All responded from their own positions. We sat several times and finally managed to form a modest team,’ he said.

However, the deadline of completing players’ registration ends on November 20.  

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