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Sporting Bengal United boss Imrul Gazi grateful to Bangladesh Football Association for opportunity with Essex Senior League club

PUBLISHED: 09:00 02 August 2016 | UPDATED: 09:37 02 August 2016

Sporting Bengal United manager Imrul Gazi talks to his players (pic: Alam Zaman)

Sporting Bengal United manager Imrul Gazi talks to his players (pic: Alam Zaman)

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Mile End Stadium club are under new management this year and have a completely changed squad for the upcoming season

Sporting Bengal United manager Imrul Gazi has paid tribute to the Bangladesh Football Association ahead of the new campaign getting underway for the Mile End Stadium club.

The east Londoners had hoped to play Haringey & Waltham at the weekend in their Essex Senior League opener.

Unfortunately the fixture had to be postponed and Bengal’s first competitive clash of the season will be in the extra preliminary round of the FA Cup on Sunday when they host Ipswich Wanderers at Wadham Lodge’s Stadium.

Anwar Uddin managed the Mile End outfit last year and enjoyed great success in the division and the FA Vase.

He made the decision to step down at the end of the campaign, though, and Gazi is grateful for the opportunity to replace him.

“I have to say a massive thank you to the Bangladesh Football Association for putting their faith in me,” said the new Bengal manager.

“A lot of experienced candidates applied for the job, but they went with me because they want to focus on youth development.

“I really appreciate the BFA giving me this opportunity and I’m determined to pay them back.”

Gazi went on to discuss the good work Uddin put in place at the east Londoners during the 2015/16 season.

But now the ex-Dagenham & Redbridge captain has left his managers role and the new man in charge is looking to put his own stamp on things.

He has faced a testing summer and had to rebuild his whole squad, but is feeling quietly confident.

“Anwar brought in an element of professionalism last season and having been around the set up I learned a lot,” said Gazi.

“Until last year, the previous pre-season campaigns at Sporting Bengal have been very amateurish and Anwar changed that.

“I wanted to continue that and I feel I have, I’ve looked to make sure we keep our professional approach.

“My squad this year is very young and more dynamic compared to last season and I’ve brought in my own set of ideas.

“Anwar has turned into a good friend of mine and at times I go to him for advice and we speak regularly.

“Although he isn’t involved this year, he is still around obviously and has helped me out a lot.”

Assisting Gazi this year is Arosh Ali and Ayas Ali – two highly respected coaches who have a reputation for developing young footballers.

Bengal are determined to use the vast amount of talent in the community and kick on this year.

Gazi added: “I’m quietly confident, I think we will surprise people this year and I’ve got two good coaches with me.

“Arosh Ali is one of my coaches, he is a UEFA A qualified coach and is doing his pro license now.

“He has worked at MK Dons and was with Dele Ali so he is helping with our under-15s and the first team.

“Everybody has got on great with him already and Ayas Ali is my assistant, he has got his UEFA A badge and was a massive part of me taking the job, I said in my interview if I got the job I wanted him as my number two.”

After a tough pre-season, Gazi will relish the opportunity to show what his Bengal team can do – starting on Sunday in the cup.

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