Vol. 5 Num 263 Tue. February 22, 2005  

Foreigner spree for Fed Cup

With the Federation Cup Football Tournament just around the corner big teams continued their frantic search for quality foreign recruits.

Defending champions Muktijoddha Sangsad, who banked on African players last year, flew in a Brazilian midfielder Rafael on Friday. Rafael, who once trained alongside Brazilian superstar Ronaldinho, is the third foreign player for the Reds joining up with Ghanaian Charles Ghansha and Rwandan striker Harry who are already in the city.

But it was Mohammedan, who brought in two South Korean booters three months ago after a forgettable last season.

Mohammedan's bitter rivals Abahani, still mourning the untimely death of their manager and country's legendary defender Monem Munna, brought in three Latin American players -- striker Ariel of Argentina and midfielder Jose of Brazil, defender Felix of Chile -- on Saturday.

Re-born Brothers Union, who lifted both the Premier and National League titles last year, are set to rope in a Moroccan midfielder Hisam Inani after their three previous imports apparently failed to impress in pre-training.

Inani, a member of the Moroccan Olympic team, was expected to arrive in Dhaka last night.

"We have already three foreign players in the camp. But we need a quality midfielder and Inani might be the player we are looking for," said Brothers Union manager Amer Khan last night.

Each team can register up to three foreign players with two being eligible to feature in a match.

The 20th edition of traditional curtain-raiser will kick off at the Bir Shreshthra Shaheed Mustafa Kamal Stadium in Kamalapur on February 25.

Eighteen teams split into three groups will take part in the first phase with the group champions later joining five big guns -- Abahani, Mohammedan, Muktijoddha, Brothers Union and Sheikh Russell -- in the final round at the Bangabandhu National Stadium.

SKY BLUE LATINOS: Abahani's foreign recruits (L-R) Felix of Chile and Argentines Ariel and Jose pose in front of the clubhouse at Dhanmondi yesterday. PHOTO: STAR