রবিবার, ৬ সেপ্টেম্বর, ২০০৯

Top seed MSC can meet Abahani only in final

Edson Silva Dido (3rd from left), coach of the Bangladesh national football team, draws lots during the draw ceremony of the Citycell Federation Cup 2009 at the Hotel Sheraton yesterday.
Archrivals Mohammedan Sporting Club and Abahani will not meet each other on the battlefield until both of them reach the final of the Citycell Federation Cup as they were rated the two top seeded sides in the groupings of the season's curtain-raising tournament, beginning on September 10.
Champions Mohammedan were considered the number one seed in the warm-up tournament of the professional football league, the B. League, while last year's runners-up Abahani followed them as the second best which meant they will not face each other until the final, scheduled to be held on October 8.
Keeping four semifinalists of last season on top of each four groups, other 12 teams including three invited sides -- Bangladesh Krira Shikkha Protishtan, Bangladesh Army and Bangladesh Police -- were drawn in a ceremony which was held at the Sheraton Hotel yesterday.
The Black and Whites were placed in Group A along with depleted Brothers Union, BKSP, and Feni Soccer Club while the Sky Blues led Group D with a new look Muktijoddha Sangsad, Chittagong Abahani and Bangladesh Police.
Group B included last year's semifinalists Chittagong Mohammedan SC, Arambagh KS, Rahmatganj MFS and newcomers Shukhtara Jubo Sangsad of Naryanganj while Farashganj SC, last year's semifinalists, Sheikh Russel KC, Bangladesh Army and newcomers Beanibazar SC of Sylhet.
Top two sides from each group will qualify for the quarterfinals to be held on October 1 and 2. The semifinals are billed for October 4 and 5.
Mohammedan will begin their campaign to defend the title taking on Feni Soccer Club in one of the two opening day matches at the Bangabandhu National Stadium while their old foes Abahani will play against Bangladesh Police on September 13.
After the first match, each team will get a three-day break before playing their next match and the tournament will remain suspended for eight days for the Eid-ul-Fitr and will resume on September 26.
Meanwhile, the organisers this time have changed the format of the tournament to keep the quarterfinals and dropped the qualifying round, which last year saw five teams join eleven automatic qualifiers in the 16-team final round.
Before finalising the groupings, last season's activities of the Bangladesh Football Federation was presented by power-point illustration that could hardly attract the guests.
BFF vice-president Kazi Nabil Ahmed sought help from all football stakeholders to make this season a success too.
Another vice-president Manzur Hossain Malu, general secretary Al Musabbir Sadi, members Anwarul Haq Helal, Golam Rabbani Helal, Fazlur Rahman Babul, technical director Shahidur Rahman Shantu, national coach Edson Silva Dido and some former national players and the representatives of all participating clubs were among others present.

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