Meet Club Eagles, Bengaluru FC’s opponents in the AFC Cup play-off tie

2018-19 Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) champions Bengaluru FC, under new head coach Marco Pezzaiuoli, will battle for the final spot in Group D (South Region) of the AFC Cup when they take on Club Eagles in Male on May 11. The club from Maldives beat Bhutan’s Thimphu City FC 2-0 in the Preliminary Round 1 clash to set up a Round 2 encounter with Bangladesh’s Abahani Limited Dhaka. However, the Bangladeshi club had to forfeit their game as they couldn’t host it in time due to the Covid-19 situation in their country. Founded in 1989, Club Eagles is based in Male, which will also host all Group D (South Region) matches at the National Football Stadium. Here, we look at the history of the Maldivian club, some of their key players as well as their head coach.

Nickname: The Eagles

Home Stadium: National Football Stadium

Overview:

Club Eagles achieved promotion to the Dhivehi League for the first time in 2006 but were relegated back to the second division a season later. They returned to the first division in 2011 and have since finished in the top half of the table more often than not. During the 2019-20 season, Club Eagles finished behind champions Maziya Sports and Recreation and qualified for the AFC Cup preliminary round. In the ongoing season, the Eagles are fourth on the points table with 16 points from 12 games.

Key Players:

Mohammad Taha (Goalkeeper)

Mohammad Taha is a Lebanese goalkeeper who is a crucial member of the Eagles team. The 23-year-old shot-stopper began his career at Safa Beirut SC in his home country before moving to Al Ahli in the same division. Taha joined Club Eagles in March 2021 and featured in their AFC Cup Preliminary Round 1 match against Thimphu City FC and helped them to a clean sheet.

Vladislav Kormishin (Forward)

Vladislav Kormishin has spent the majority of his playing career in his home country Russia, turning up for the likes of Spartak Moskow II and Arsenal 2 Tula. After very brief stints abroad, the 25-year-old forward returned to Russia to play in the country’s third tier for Biolog Novokubansk. He made 11 appearances and scored five goals for them during the 2020-21 season. He joined the Maldivian outfit in March 2021. The Russian was a late withdrawal from the Matchday squad against Thimphu City FC for unknown reasons but is expected to return against Bengaluru FC considering the importance of the match.

Elsayed Mahmoud (Defender)

Club Eagles will bank on the experience of 30-year-old Elsayed Mahmoud to counter the threat of the Bengaluru FC attackers. The Egyptian defender played in his home country for the large part of his career. He first joined the Dhivehi Premier League as part of Club Green Streets before moving to Club Eagles in January earlier this year. He played in their qualification game against Thimphu City FC last month and helped his side to an important clean sheet.

Head coach: Mohamed Shaazly

Mohamed Shaazly has headed the Maldivian U-23 national team in the past. He took charge of TC Sports Club and helped them to a third-place finish last season before joining Club Eagles in January 2021. Shaazly is an ambitious coach and has made it clear on several occasions that Club Eagles are eyeing nothing less than a place in the group stage of the AFC Cup. Bengaluru FC, led by Sunil Chhetri, will have to be wary of them having lost to another Maldivian club, Maziya Sports and Recreation, in the AFC Cup play-off last year.

 

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