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Uttar Baridhara riding the wave

  • Published at 07:31 pm July 25th, 2016
  • Last updated at 06:46 pm July 27th, 2016
Uttar Baridhara riding the wave

Uttar Baridhara Club were still buzzing a day after a successful day and took their warm-up session at the Patenga beach here in Chittagong Monday.

The newly promoted club are enjoying one of their finest moments in top-flight football after kicking off the Bangladesh Premier League campaign with a memorable victory over former treble winners Sheikh Russel Krira Chakra on Sunday.

“So far, this victory is our biggest achievement in the league. It was also a very important and memorable match for the players as it was only our third victory at this level,” the club's general secretary Jahangir Alam told Dhaka Tribune.

Uttar Baridhara took part in the Pioneer Football League in 1995. Jahangir has been with the team since then and experienced several ups and downs in the last 21 years.

The club reached the Third Division in 2005-06 and became champions in their debut season. They again finished at the summit the following season in the Second Division and were promoted to the First Division. The First Division was not played regularly till 2010 but later when it was held on a consistent basis, Uttar Baridhara stayed in the tier for two years.

Uttar Baridhara finished second in the first edition of second-tier football - the Bangladesh Championship League - but during that time only one team got promoted to the premier league every season. In the 2013-14 season, the club made history when they were promoted to the top flight for the first time ever after finishing second.

The first season in the top-flight was not a good memory for Uttar Baridhara as they managed only two wins out of 27 matches to finish at the bottom. They also conceded a record 85 goals and were eventually relegated to the second tier.

At that time, the club had a tin-shed building for the players.

Most of the players are young and have been playing for the club for the last few years and with the exception of defender Khalekuzzaman Sabuj, who moved to Abahani Limited, they stayed committed to the club despite relegation and brought the club back to the BPL again by not losing more than one game in the second-tier league.

Sabuj, who rejoined the club this season, believes this side is better than two years ago. Their latest inclusion in the squad is young forward Rohit Sarkar, who was brought in last season after attracting attention during the Saff Under-19 Championship in Nepal last year.

The club now have a new four-storied building at Kalachandpur area in Baridhara where the club shifted only last year. They now also have their own ground at Shaheed Aziz Road, which was provided by club founding member Wakil Ahmed, who is also the chairman of the side's governing body.

Uttar Baridhara's next opponents are reigning champions Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club who scored 14 goals in two matches against them in the 2013-14 season.

However according to Jahangir, they are not afraid of any team any longer.

“There are no more problems. The players are prepared. We will not concede goals like the last time,” said Jahangir.

Along with Uttar Baridhara, Arambagh Krira Sangha were also promoted to the premier league after a gap of two seasons.

Guided by former national coach Saiful Bari Titu, the Motijheel outfit are also enjoying one of their better seasons. They made history by reaching the final of the recently-concluded Federation Cup and last Sunday, they held Sheikh Jamal to an exciting 1-1 draw.

Arambagh are the only club who returned to Dhaka on Monday after playing their first match. They will come to Chittagong on Wednesday before their second match against Muktijoddha Samaj Kallyan Samity, scheduled for this Saturday.