Bashundhara Kings prepare for battle against Pjanic, Alcaser in Sharjah

Bashundhara Kings will represent Bangladesh in the AFC Champions Trophy

Bashundhara Kings’ challenge has already begun.

Right after landing in Sharjah, UAE, they have been greeted by the extreme heat of the gulf. The Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) champions are in Sharjah for their AFC Champions League preliminary round match against Sharjah FC. In the match, they have to battle against the opponents and the conditions. Kings’ battle with the conditions began right as they stepped foot in Sharjah.

The match against Sharjah FC is an opportunity for the reigning BPL champions to test how good they really are, said coach Oscar Bruzon before leaving for the UAE with the team, “With the match against Sharjah FC, Bashundhara Kings will be able to assess its position. This match will show us how behind or close we are of the Asian standard.”

While looking at the players’ list of Sharjah FC, two names stand out from the rest – Miralem Pjanic and Paco Alcaser. Bosnian midfielder Pjanic and Spanish forward Alcaser are former Barcelona players. Pjanic played for Barcelona from 2020 to 2022. Before that, he spent nine years in Italy playing for Roma and Juventus. All in all, Pjanic has played for top European clubs for over 10 years. He has been playing in the Bosnian national team since 2008. He also took part in the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Former Barcelona players Miralem Pjanic and Paco Alcaser

Before playing for Barcelona from 2016 to 2019, Alcaser played for Spanish club Valencia and German club Borussia Dortmund. He has 12 international goals to his name in 19 appearances for Spain.

Local footballers like Topu Barman and Bishwanath Ghosh are excited to play against two footballers who have played in top European clubs. Topu said, “It will be a great experience to play against two world class footballers. Hopefully we will be able to learn something from this.”

But Bruzon didn’t want to think too much about the two star footballers in the opponent team, “The whole Sharjah team is great. There is no point in thinking about just Pjanic and Alcaser. These two footballers have a big profile, that’s true. But the other nine players who will play for Sharjah are also really good. And big names could also flop on the pitch. The outcome of a football match depends on how well a team plays in the 90 minutes.”

Pjanic, who joined Sharjah last year, has so far played 27 matches for Sharjah and scored five goals. Alcaser also joined the same year and has so far scored nine goals from 27 matches. Not just Pjanic and Alcaser, former Olympiacos, Roma and Napoli defender Kostas Manolas also plays for Sharjah. They also have four Brazilians – Caio Lucus, Gustavo, Marcus Meloni, Luan Pereira. Caio has also played for Benfica.

So it goes without saying that Bashundara Kings will go through a trial by fire in their very first match in the AFC Champions League.