Essex Senior League: Imrul Gazi wants Sporting Bengal United to make east London community proud

A Sporting Bengal United player battles with a Takeley opponent (pic: Sadiq Ahmed).

A Sporting Bengal United player battles with a Takeley opponent (pic: Sadiq Ahmed). - Credit: Archant

Mile End Stadium club face lengthy journey to Suffolk this weekend to play Hadleigh United in FA Cup

Imrul Gazi is hoping Sporting Bengal United can do the east London community proud this weekend when they make the long trip to Hadleigh United in the extra preliminary round of the FA Cup.

The Mile End Stadium club reached the first qualifying round last season, winning away to Ispwich Wanderers following a replay and beating Essex Senior League rivals Clapton along the way.

And after their experience in 2016, the Bengal manager is hoping they can try to at least repeat history.

“We are not just playing for Sporting Bengal or the Borough of Tower Hamlets, I see it as a chance for us to represent east London,” said Gazi.

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“I want us to put this part of the capital on the map and we went to Ipswich last year and won, so hopefully we can do something similar.”

Bengal will travel to Suffolk with confidence after earning a point on Tuesday night at West Essex.

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Oscar Mendes and Ashaan Siddik netted at Mayesbrook Park to help Gazi’s team earn a 2-2 draw and bounce back following their opening-day defeat at Takeley.

The east Londoners went down 2-0 at Station Road with both goals being conceded in the first quarter of an hour.

But after drawing with West Essex, Bengal will aim to build on that point when they visit Tinklers Lane to face the Eastern Counties League Premier Division side.

“Hadleigh seem like a similar side to us in terms of the league position they finished last year which was 18th,” said Gazi.

“It will be another good occasion and we learnt a lot from our experience in the FA Cup last time out.

“We will be looking to do as well as we did last season if not better, but we know we have to take it one step at a time in the competition.

“I am confident about Saturday and my squad is looking decent, so I am excited about the game.”

Gazi is also looking forward to the journey to Hadleigh despite it being set to take at least an hour and a half.

Another trip away from the capital last season helped boost team spirit and this weekend’s could do similar.

He added: “Last season when we went to Southend, we went to the beach after and had some fish and chips, so I like the long trips.

“It is good for team morale and when you are stuck in a mini-bus for a couple of hours it allows you to get to know your team-mates better.

“You spend more time with someone than you normally would, so I am always a fan of the long trips and I am optimistic about Saturday.”

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