Champions Abahani finally received the coveted title of the professional football league after playing out a goalless draw in their last encounter of the 10th Bangladesh Premier League against their Chittagong namesakes at Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday.
Having already confirmed a sixth title with a win in their previous match, the Sky Blues entered the field in a light mood. There was no urgency from either side to break the deadlock, resulting in a goalless draw which ended Abahani's nine-match winning streak.
Abahani finished on top of the 12-team table with 52 points from 22 matches, followed by Sheikh Jamal in second with 47 points.
The Abahani fans were already in a celebratory mood before kick-off, adorning the players with garlands and gathering at the gallery sporting Abahani jerseys which read 'we are the champions'. They also hoisted flags and banners and provided inspiration to their players by beating drums and igniting fireworks as the match went on.
The supporters could wait no more at the final whistle, and were seen entering the ground to regale their players and even officials, hugging anyone in sight and taking pictures. Afterwards the champions, riding on horse-drawn carriages, were escorted by raucous fans back to the club's Dhanmondi premises.
The wives and children of defender Mamun Mia, midfielder Pranotosh Kumar and goalkeeper Shahidul Alam Shohel also joined in the celebrations and complied with the fans' demands to take pictures.
Pranotosh, who has been a member of all six of Abahani's title triumphs, was ecstatic and said that winning a sixth title was a special feeling.
"Many players have yet to taste the title of the Bangladesh Premier League yet, but I am one who tasted all six of Abahani's triumphs," said Pranotosh. "My wife was present on five occasions and it is a big thing for me because she always inspires me."
Defender Wali Faisal added that celebrating the title with fans was always a momentous occasion and very special for professional players.
"Celebrating a title triumph with fans is always a big thing and this type of celebration can't be expressed in words," said Wali, who won a fifth league title with Abahani. "It proved that people still love football. That's why they came onto the field and as a professional footballer I will be trying to meet their expectations in the future."
Abahani manager Satyajit Das Rupu said that the players would have a celebration party at the club premises and that the players would be given Tk 30 lakh championship prize money apart from the winning bonus of Tk 3 lakh for each win in the second-leg matches.