AFC Cup 2019 Group E Rival Watch: Dhaka Abahani
Written by: Rutvij Joshi
The Sky Blue Brigade have won a record of six Bangladesh Football Premier League titles.
Dhaka Abahani qualified for this year's AFC Cup, courtesy of winning the Bangladesh Premier League (2017-18 season). Placed in Group E, they are lined up against India's Chennaiyin FC and Minerva Punjab FC, along with Manang Marshyangdi of Nepal.
In this article, we will look at how the Bangladeshi team will shape up for the tournament.
About The Team
Dhaka Abahani is one of the elites of Bangladeshi football, having won the league title for a record six times. This is also their third consecutive appearance in AFC Cup but they failed to go past the group stage both the times.
Dhaka Abahani is currently second in the points table in the Bangladesh Football Premier League, a point behind Basundhra Kings. Dhaka has won their last four out of five games in the league.
Ahead of their first match against Manang Marshyangdi, Dhaka's head coach stated that he hoped for a positive result
Mario Lemos is a 34-years-old Portuguese coach who took up the job in December last year, and instantly made his mark. In the 14 games he has managed, he won 10 games and he'll be looking to guide the Bangladeshi outfit to the knockout stage for the first time.
Ahead of his side's opening away clash to Manang Marshyangdi, Lemos said, "Our preparation went well. In any competition, the first match is very important. We saw Manang in action. We are going to Kathmandu in the hope of a positive result."
Sunday Chizoba is an experienced forward in the Dhaka Abahani lineup. He also has experience of playing in India when he played one season with Churchill Brothers, during the 2014-15 season. In the current campaign, he has scored eight goals in 10 games out of 13 goals scored by the team. Lemos will be expecting his star forward to fire all cylinders in order to reach the knockout stage in the AFC Cup
Shahidul Yousuf Sohel
Shahidul is a 30-year-old Goalkeeper who also is the captain of the side. The start hasn't been good for him this season. In the 10 games this season he conceded 9 goals but given his experience, he is surely the player to look out for.
According to Dhaka Tribune, he quipped, "First match is always important. We will take the field in Nepal with the target of achieving three points. Our team are better than before, and everyone is in form."
Belfort Kervens is Haitian International forward who brings in loads of experience into the Dhaka outfit, having played in various countries like France, Azerbaijan. He also recently plied his trade in India with Kerala Blasters and Jamshedpur FC. In this campaign, he has scored two goals and registered five assists so far. He'll surely be looking to make a mark in the continental competition.
The new Brazilian recruit will be key to the Bangladesh-based team's performance in Nepal, and for the other fixtures too. The midfielder has earlier played for the likes of Botafogo, Jamshedpur FC, NorthEast United, and Sao Jose etc.
Regarding him, Lemos said, "Priori is an experienced player. He played in the ISL (Indian Super League). We have a lot of expectation with him. Hopefully, the other foreigners will also play well."
What To Expect
Dhaka Abahani has a golden chance to qualify for the knockout stages this season given the sorry state of Minerva Punjab and Chennaiyin FC. Also Nepal's Manang Marshyangdi won't pose any real threat. However, Group E is lined up for some entertaining fixtures which will decide the knockout spot.
Published: Sun Mar 31, 2019 07:53 PM IST