Defending champions Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club will enjoy the upper hand in the first derby of the season when they face an injury-hit Sheikh Russel KC in the first semifinal of the Federation Cup at the Bangabandhu National Stadium at 5:15pm today.
The services of influential midfielders Hemanta Vincent Biswas and Zahid Hossain will be heavily missed by Russel as the national duo are yet to regain competitive match after sustaining injury in the Bangabandhu Gold Cup earlier this month. The worry for the blues gets worse as their experienced defender Rezaul Haque and hardworking midfielder Jamal Hossain are also sidelined with injury.
However, having majority of the national players in the side Jamal also need to be careful of their own scare, the “fatigue syndrome” as their booters showed signs of exhaustion during the quarterfinal clash against Brothers Union.
“Yes, I cant deny the fact, five or six of my first choice players have been playing continuously for the last one year, they have fulfilled the national and club commitments and they do feel tired.
However I am working on it and I have every hope that it will not affect the performance tomorrow (today),” said Jamal coach Maruful Haque.
On the other hand, Russel manager Jewel Rana reflected on missing out on his key players and said, “We will not be able to field the full strength team, but we are ready to fight it out with what we have.”
“We are not afraid of Sheikh Jamal, we want to win the semifinal,” added the former national captain.
Rana thinks the contribution of the foreign players will be vital. “I must say that the foreign players of Jamal are little ahead of our foreigners in ranking, I think the foreigner’s contributions will make the difference.”
Till date, Russel faced Jamal four times in the Federation Cup and drew only once. Jamal won once compared to Russel’s two win.