Independence Cup Football
Arambagh celebrate first ever local title
Arambagh Krira Sangha had celebrated their first ever local title in the club's history of about 60 years beating defending champions Chittagong Abahani in the final by 2-0 margin on Saturday at the Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka.
Around four thousand spectators who were present on the day to be part of the historic moment for the Arambagh boys might have sensed from the very beginning of the match that the disciples of coach Maruful Haque were going to win the match.
There were something in the body language of these young booters that make the spectators believe that the defending champions Chittagong Abahani were going to lose the match. The port city team which was packed with a bunch of well-known and experienced booters could not do justice to their name and team budget.
The head-coach less Chittagong Abahani who were lately coached by their goalkeeping coach Nuruzzaman Nayan were seemingly played aimless.
The port city team squandered their first opportunity to go ahead failing to utilities a penalty kick in the 18th minute of the match.
In reply, just two minutes later, Arambagh had opened the net as defender Arif converted a cross of midfielder Shahriar Bappy with a soft touch of right foot.
The winners doubled the winning score in the 44th minute. Receiving a low cross of striker Jewel from the left edge of the box, defender Rokey fired the post with a powerful right-footer.
On the day, the six decades of waiting come to an end for the Arambagh boys who had so far became runners-up for three times in the Federation Cup Football in 1997, 2001 and 2016.
After establishment of the club in 1958, the boys failed to win any crown of the local events. Yet they have three foreign titles in their collection, these events are not well-known to the fans. They clinched titles of Sikkim Governor's Cup in 1995 and 2001 and Bhutan President Gold Cup in 2001.
Earlier, Arambagh had to beat Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club by 1-0 margin in the first semi-final while in the second semi-final, Chittagong Abahani blanked Old Dhaka club Rahmatganj Muslim Friends Society by the same 1-0 margin to confirm the final match.
After the final match, Bangladesh Football Federation Senior Vice-President Abdus Salam Murshedy and other officials of the Federation handed over the prizes and trophies.
The champions received taka 500,000 and the runners-up received taka 300,000 as prize money. Besides, Arambagh club management also announced taka 1,000,000 for the entire team.
Arambagh defender Arif was named the man of the final and also the man of the tournament. Arambagh striker Jewel was adjudged the top scorer netting three goals.
Chittagong Abahani were given the Fair Play Trophy.