A brief account of football in Bangladesh

In the history of games and sports, football has become the most popular sport in Bangladesh. Despite its popularity, the quality of Bangladeshi football has deteriorated in recent times. This is mainly due to lack of proper infrastructure, academy, support and most importantly inadequate investment in this field. In our country, compared to cricket, the development of football has not come up to a level of our expectation.

During the 1990s, football was in a better position. The high voltage clash between the two historic clubs, Abahani Ltd. And Mohammedan sporting club, was similar to the ‘El Clasico’ we see today, not in terms of the quality of playing but the excitement. The Swadhin Bangla Football Team, consisting of legendary football players who played football during the liberation war, played 16 matches in India and was officially received by the BFF in 2009.

The FIFA ranking of Bangladesh was then 110 and now it has drastically fallen to 182. Notwithstanding all the drawbacks of being a professional football player in Bangladesh, it is still popular and sensational game of the youth. Since the first broadcast of FIFA world cup finals in Bangladesh, people of our country celebrate the tradition of hoisting national flags of teams they support in the world cups.

Recent times have seen the increasing popularity of the tournament in the nation’s media and an increase in the sale of jerseys and flags. There is also a lot of excitement in watching live matches on big screen. BFF (Bangladesh Football Federation) is currently working with AFC’s Vision Asia Program to improve the infrastructure.

Kazi Salahuddin, the president of BFF, has recently taken a lot of initiatives since 4thApril, 2008. He took the first initiative of Bangladeshi Super League known as ‘Koti Takar League’. Yo u n g prospects o f Bangladesh take part in international youth Football Tournaments like Gothia Cup and Dana Cup. Surprisingly, legendary football players such as Andrea Pirlo, Xabi Alonso and also Zlatan Ibrahimović took part in these tournaments at their young age.

Regardless of the failures of the national football team, the success of individual players needs to be praised by the whole country. Hemonto Vincent Biswas wears the No. 10 Jersey of his country and he didn’t fail to cope up with the pressure of wearing that number on his back.  He was the first Bangladeshi footballer to get a trial at a European Club. FC Twenty called him for a trial but due to some issues, he was not selected for the first team. But he was entitled ‘Unpolished Diamond’ by the coach and the staff members of the Club.

Mamunul Islam Mamun, the captain of Bangladesh National Football Team, impressed local Indians by taking Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club to the finals of the 2014 IFA Shield. He received offers from Indian Clubs and went on loan to Atletico De Kolkata, but did not play a single game. Unable to play a single game in the ISL demoralized Mamunul but he did make us proud. Recently Bangladesh U-16 National Football Team won the ‘SAFF U-16 Championship’, hosted in Bangladesh and the finals took place in Sylhet. A few players from Arambagh Football Academy were proud representatives of the team.

In ‘Bangabandhu Cup 2015’, Bangladesh stood out as the runners-up as they lost against Malaysia U-23 team by 2-3 in the final match. Hence, not only individual success, but also collective success is evident. In conclusion we can say, players are hopeful that playing for the youth teams is the beginning of something big. The BFF president has promised to take football a long way. He is optimistic about Bangladesh participating in the FIFA World Cup 2022.

The young generation is inspired by this and they are also hopeful about seeing Bangladesh national team perform in such tournaments and finding Bangladeshi Football in a better position in the near future.

By: Saad Tausif, A-Level,

SFX Greenherald International School



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