Mohammedan have accomplished the seemingly impossible by winning the Federation Cup on Tuesday by defeating Abahani, who were strongly favored to win the match. This victory brings an end to a winless streak that has lasted for nine years. It has prompted considerable elation among the club’s followers as well as past players, with some commentators referring to the achievement as a tipping point in the fortunes of the most decorated football club in the country.
An upbeat and celebratory mood has permeated the club ever since Kamrul Islam converted the game-winning penalty kick at the Shaheed Dhirendranath Dutta Stadium in Cumilla. After returning to the nation’s capital late that night, the players and coaching staff were greeted with a heroes’ welcome by the club authorities. The club executives had organized a modest celebration, which stretched long into the day on Wednesday.
Mohammedan’s comeback story finally shows some promising signs of life.
Despite the recent financial difficulties that Mohammedan has been experiencing, the club’s management has announced a bonus of Tk 40 lakh for the team. In addition, the chairman of Mohammedan’s football committee, Ghulam Mohammad Alamgir, has announced an additional bonus of Tk 5 lakh for the team’s captain, Souleymane Diabate, as well as Tk 2 lakh each for the two goalkeepers, Sujon Hossain and Ahsan Habib.
After the triumph, legendary striker Imtiaz Sultan Jonny, who played for the Black and Whites in the 1980s, pondered on the magnitude of the accomplishment and its significance. “We ended Bashundhara Kings’ unbeaten streak and then became champions by beating Abahani, so it’s a big deal,” Jonny told the press after the match. “We became champions by beating Abahani.” Now that we are in this position, we will need to win the league, and achieving this goal will undoubtedly drive us.
After the controversy involving the casino in 2019, the club elected new officers, and this triumph demonstrates the progress that has been done under their leadership. During the 1980s and 1990s, Rumman Bin Wali Sabbir was a wonderful playmaker for the team. He recounted the revival, saying, “After the casino scandal, the ex-players have taken the responsibility of the club under late Badal Roy’s leadership and we are moving ahead step by step.”
“Premier clubs should be able to rely on consistent revenue streams.”
Since taking over as coach in the middle of the season, Alfaz Ahmed has been successful in turning the team’s fortunes around. However, maintaining this success may prove to be a far more challenging endeavor.
Even though Mohammedan have not been able to win a single league championship since the beginning of the professional league in 2007, they have been successful in winning a number of cup titles, including two out of the three Super Cups that have been played between 2007 and 2014. This fact should be acknowledged. Even less successful clubs such as Arambagh and Farashganj have won the Independence Cup during that time, but a league victory is a whole different animal.
The team will require long-term investments, depth and quality in its roster, a decent atmosphere, and other amenities, all of which Mohammedan may be missing at the present time, in order to compete for the league title against major spenders like Bashundhara Kings and Abahani.
He indicated that he needed reinforcements to develop this club into a power that might fight for the league title the next season. Alfaz is the one who has guided the team to the fourth spot in the league with four games left to play.
“I still haven’t put pen to paper on a new deal with the club,” I said. The former national forward made these comments to The Daily Star the other day. “If the club wants to keep me and if I stay with the club, I’ll definitely want to have a squad capable of putting up a title fight,” the former national forward said.
“I hope the administration of the club realizes it as well and puts together a solid group for the upcoming season. The 49-year-old continued by saying, “There will need to be additional investment and planning, and I will also need a few new players.”
Even though it has lost much of its significance in recent years, the most recent Abahani-Mohammedan derby shown that it can still spark the same level of enthusiasm among supporters as it did back in the glory days. And supporters of both teams, as well as neutral fans, will be rooting for Mohammedan to make a comeback as a dominant force in domestic football once more in the hopes that this will restore the sport’s once-popular appeal.