Mahbubur Rahman Sufil, Mannaf Rabbi, and Nasir Uddin Chowdhury – three familiar names in Bangladesh football over the last decade but increasingly unknown in recent years – scored all four goals in a 2-2 draw between Brothers Union and Chittagong Abahani in the Bangladesh Premier League today.
It is an uncommon occasion for a four-goal game, since foreigners score the majority of goals in Bangladesh’s highest division of professional football – formerly by African strikers, but now increasingly by forwards from South America and Central Asia.
It was a meeting between the league’s lowest two teams at the Shaheed Bir Shreshtho Ft Lt Matiur Rahman Stadium in Munshiganj, and neither came out on top as the prizes were split. Sufil gave Brothers a 2-0 lead eight minutes into the second half, but Rabbi and the 43-year-old Nasir scored twice for Chittagong Abahani in the 80th and 82nd minutes to tie the game.
Sufil, who burst into the national football scene in 2018 with his quickness and goalscoring abilities after a successful two-year tenure with Arambagh KS, spent three years with the national squad, scoring five times in 29 appearances. However, as is common in Bangladesh football, talented young strikers are grabbed by major teams, which ultimately leads to their demise. Sufil’s high-profile transfer to Bashundhara Kings in 2018 marked the beginning of a slow slide for the quick forward.
Sufil, who had primarily warmed the benches of Kings for four seasons, with just one goal to his credit in 52 bit-part appearances, was shown the door and signed by Mohammedan in 2022, although he did not have a wonderful time in the Black and Whites dugout either, never scoring there.
Mahbubur Rahman Sufil scored a goal against Bhutan in 2018. File Photo: Firoz Ahmed
However, after moving to Brothers Union last year, where there are only three foreigners this season and all strikers are local, Sufil seems to have finally found the freedom to showcase his goal-scoring abilities. Both of his goals in today’s game came as a result of galloping runs from midfield and latching onto Mostafa Kaharba’s through balls.
The two goals brought his season total to three goals, which is already three times as much as his goals for Bashundhara Kings and Mohammedan combined, and if Sufil can maintain this goal-scoring form, a return to the national squad is not out of the question.
Meanwhile, two more games were played on the day, with Mohammedan defeating Police FC 3-2 in Mymensingh to remain in second place with 10 points from four games, two behind league leaders Bashundhara Kings.
Jafar Iqbal, Muzaffarov, and Souleymane Diabate scored for Black and Whites, while Mateo Palacios and Shahed Hossain scored for Police.
Abahani, the six-time professional league winners, stayed third with seven points after defeating Sheikh Russel KC 3-1 in Gopalganj, with Cornelius Stewart scoring twice and Jonathan Fernandez scoring once. Sumon Reza, the national team striker, scored the solitary goal for Sheikh Russel, who stayed in seventh place with four points.