The Bangladesh-based club are in Group D of the competition.
The AFC Cup action for the South Zone will resume on August 18 with ATK Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru FC locking horns against each other. The group also consists of Maziya S&RC and Bangladeshi outfit, Bashundhara Kings who are a force to be reckoned with. The Kings won the domestic double this season and will be looking to replicate that form in the AFC Cup.
The Kings have been the most dominant side in Bangladesh over the last few years. They will now aim to do well on the continental stage under coach Oscar Bruzon’s leadership. Bashundhara Kings have a squad capable of challenging any team and hence will be the trickiest opponents for both ATKMB and BFC.
Here we take a look at Bashundhara Kings and what we can expect from them in the AFC Cup:
Bashundhara Kings have been one of the most consistent teams hailing from Bangladesh. The Kings have a terrific domestic record. Now, under the tutelage of head coach Oscar Bruzon, they are looking to make a mark in the continental tournament. The Kings won their maiden Bangladesh Premier League title in the 2018-19 season.
The following season they won the Bangladesh Federation Cup, to extend their dominance in domestic football. Last season, they were in fiery form and lifted the Bangladesh Premier League title and the Federation Cup to complete a domestic double.
This year, Bashundhara Kings have lost only one game in the Bangladesh Premier League. They are sitting pretty comfortably at the top of the points table,13 points clear. They are also on a three-game winning streak and have won each of those games without conceding a goal.
About the Team
Bashundhara Kings were formed in 2013, but they have been a major superpower when it comes to Bangladesh football. With two domestic titles already in the bag, the team embark on a new mission searching for continental glory.
This will be Bashundhara Kings’ first-ever AFC Cup appearance. They qualified for the last edition, but the competition was cancelled due to COVID-19. They might be a new entrant, but with Oscar Bruzon at the helm, Bashundhara Kings can be a force in Group D.
Bashundhara Kings appointed Spanish coach Oscar Bruzon in 2018 and since then they have not looked back. He has guided the side to several domestic accolades and titles.
Bruzon has coaching experience in India and has knowledge of Indian clubs, that could benefit the Kings in the AFC Cup. He was also with Maldivian outfit New Radiant before coming to Bangladesh.
In India, he was the head coach of Sporting Club de Goa during the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons. He inherited a struggling team and transformed them into a side that troubled top clubs. Bruzon also guided Sporting to the Federation Cup final in the 2013-14 season.
His exceptional performances for Sporting were noticed by Mumbai City, who appointed him as their assistant coach for the 2015-16 season. But, a difference in opinion soured his relationship with then player-coach Nicolas Anelka and both parties decided to mutually part ways. He was then appointed as the head coach of I-League outfit Mumbai FC for the remainder of the league campaign.
Apart from his experience in the subcontinent, Bruzon is famous for his eye for talent. He has the ability to spot talent and help them develop into superstars. He had stints with RCD Mallorca in the Spanish Segunda Division and has also worked at Celta Vigo’s youth setup.
Bruzon has proven his credentials by winning multiple titles with Bashundhara Kings. he is eyeing to implement his style of play on the continental front now.
Players to Watch
Robson Azevedo da Silva (Robinho)
All eyes will be on the Brazilian winger who has been sensational for the Kings in the Bangladesh Premier League. Robinho has scored 19 goals in the BPL this season and is tied with Sheikh Jamal’s Pa Omar Jobe for the highest goalscorer in the league.
The 26-year-old, who is on loan from Fluminense, has also registered eight assists. He is instrumental for the Kings and has shouldered the responsibility of scoring and creating goals. Predominantly a left winger, Robinho can also play upfront as a No 9.
The Brazilian is known for his quick feet and ability to dribble past defenders at will. He has that Brazilian nonchalance in his play which makes him even more dangerous. He is surely going to be a cause of concern for the defenders.
Just like Robinho, Jonathan Fernandes has also found his feet in Bangladesh. The Brazilian central midfielder, who has plied his trade at clubs like Botafogo and Atletico Goianiense is now making a name for Oscar Bruzon’s side. He leads the assists charts in the BPL with 13 assists and has also scored seven goals this season.
Fernandes is the creative nucleus in the middle of the park for Bashundhara Kings. He is exceptional with his passing and can pick passes during transitions. Fernandes has excellent vision and can control the tempo in the middle of the park. He will be the fulcrum in midfielder for Oscar Bruzon.
Another new signing, who has settled in the team really well. The Iranian centre-back will spearhead the Kings in the continental tournament. Shafiei has plied his trade for some top clubs in Iran and has the experience of playing in the AFC Champions League.
Shafiei is extremely gutsy, a great leader and will look to guide the domestic backline for the Kings. The 34-year-old’s physical stature makes him a very tough customer and his experience of playing at such a high level regularly makes him a very important player for Bashundhara Kings. He has featured for teams like Zob Ahan, Saipa, Sepahan FC and Tractor FC and will look to continue that form for the Bangladeshi outfit.
What To Expect
Bashundhara Kings mean business in the AFC Cup this season. They have an in-form team, who are coming into the competition right after winning the domestic double. Bashundhara Kings definitely have the personnel to top the group and get the better of teams like ATK Mohun Bagan, Bengaluru FC and Maziya S&RC. They also have a very experienced coach at the helm in Oscar Bruzon.
The Kings have a very balanced team with an extremely talented bunch of foreigners and they won’t settle for anything less than the top spot in Group D. However, for that to happen they will have to bring their best game to the competition.
They have a very fluid attack and a well-oiled midfield, which can cause problems for all the other teams. So, it won’t be surprising for anyone if Oscar Bruzon and his men manage to advance to the next round in the AFC Cup.