Home  -  Back Issues  -  The Team  Contact Us
Linking Young Minds Together
  Volume 6 | Issue 25 | June 24, 2012 |


   News Room
   Feed Board
   Post Campus
   News Snap
   Campus Trends
   After Workshop
   Youth in Action
   Silly Tales
   Star Chat

   Star Campus     Home





The Football Frenzy

Naziba Basher
Photos: Kazi Tahsin Agaz Apurbo

2012 has so far been an eventful year for cricket lovers. There was the grand start of Bangladesh Premiere League, the tearful Asia Cup with a bittersweet ending and finally, Shakib Al Hasan showing everyone what the world's number one all-rounder can really do in the Indian Premiere League as a part of Kolkata Knightriders. As much as cricket fanatics are waiting for T20 World Cup to start in September, they cannot help but be absolutely engulfed in the football madness all around. The European Championship may have started out quietly but as soon as the Netherlands got themselves out of the tournament, Denmark showed amazing capabilities and Germany kept themselves on the roll, the Euro Cup came back in all its glory. The youth of Bangladesh is getting more and more involved with football every day. Young students make sure that they do not miss out on all the excitement during the World Cup, the Euro Cup and the many other leagues.

Football has always been a favourite sport of the country.

Young students, Majed Ul Huq and his friend, Zaiyan Alamgir started the Underground Football Association (UFA). “We used to play football together a lot and back then there would only be a couple of teams involved in tournaments. The hype just was not there. We thought we could at least create a platform for football lovers to talk about football and discuss games and created a forum called UFA. Soon after that, when we realised that there were plenty of people interested to play football, we started organising tournaments on a regular basis,” says Majed. With more and more interested youngsters, the UFA just became bigger and better. Even though in the underground world of football it has been all hype and growth, the more professional arena seems to be lacking in some of the energy. Although, with a lot of hope, Majed mentions, “There is a lot of talent for the growth of football but there is no one to nurture it. We need more football youth academies. Yes, there is BKSP and more but for football to flourish we will need an academy solely for football. Plenty of Bangladeshi children are playing professional football abroad, only because they get the proper training and nurturing. As underground footballers, we are here just to promote it. But for the development, we will need the help of the Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF). Unless they take steps, there is not much we can do.”

Even the rain cannot stop a good game of football once it starts.

Ever since the beginning of the Euro Cup, the level of energy went up amongst young people, where football is concerned, adds Majed. “We started a competition called Fantasy Football. We hope that this will increase the interest in football for the youth of the country,” says Majed.

The little tips and tricks of football.

While the boys are having their share of football fun, the girls are not far behind. Saveem Shama, an underground footballer belonging to the girls' team -- 7 Nation Army, shares, “Even just 3-4 years ago, it was just the school teams that the girls used to play in. But recently, like the boys, girls have started to form underground teams and have taken part in a lot of private tournaments around the city. The same girls who used to play in schools are also a part of these teams and they are continuing with their love for football. Actually now, there are more girls getting into it and as long as the tournaments keep running, the number of female players will keep increasing.” When compared to the boys, Saveem says, “The boys play in a more professional manner. They train and prepare for games. Us girls, we just practice once, maybe twice, before a tournament and that is it. But I am still hopeful because I am noticing constant improvement.” While Majed is hopeful, Saveem adds, “I think there is still a lot of improvement needed. BFF really needs to take control of regular training programmes. Our players need proper and private training to really flourish in the field. The Euro is, of course, helping the football lovers of our country gain more knowledge. There is a lot to learn. But as far as the boys go, I have to say the girls are not far behind!”

There is more to football than just dribbling and shooting.

Underground football has obviously been the means through which our football fanatics can really express their passion for the game nowadays. But universities across the cities are also giving their students an opportunity to express that very love. Clyde Brenton Quiah, a student of North South University, playing for the 2009 batch team of NSU, says, “University

More girls have, recently, started to show interest in playing football.

A girls' football game. Courtesy: Saveem Shama.

football is very popular. Students in a lot of universities play university football and there are even tournaments that we all play in. Mentors sponsor inter-university football tournaments every year. Private universities like ours (NSU), Independent University, Bangladesh (IUB), Prime Asia University and many others take part in this tournament. But what is upsetting is that even though these football players are passionate about the game and so brilliant in the field, they all do it as an 'extra-curricular' activity. These players would do anything to be a Aof the national team but only if there was more that the authorities had to offer them in terms of football.” In terms of the Euro Cup, Brenton adds more insightful thoughts to the fact that it will have positive impact in the country's state of football. He says, “Tournaments like the English Premiere League have a niche market of audience. A very small number of students watch and follow these leagues, hardly 1 percent of the population. The Euro cup and World cup are the events that bring the excitement for people all over the country. And for a Bangladeshi channel other than BTV (Maasranga) to cover this tournament is a big deal too.”

An intense game of football amongst friends.

While the youth spoke about their thoughts on the football scenario in Bangladesh, Shafiqul Islam Manik, Coach, Muktijoddha Sangsad KC, adds, “It has been four year since I saw any real development in the football in Bangladesh. The youth development is just not enough. There is talent and passion in a lot of individuals but the officials need to understand that these talented individuals need to be looked after and trained. We need to find them at the young age of 13 and develop them into strong players. We need the help of the authorities like the BFF and even the government to help us with the facilities. It is not just about the ability to play, it is also about looking after their nutrition, health and exercise as well. Until these things are considered, our football will not develop.”

While Majed and Manik support Spain, in the Euro Cup, Saveem and Brenton are rooting for Portugal! The Euro Cup is bound to have an impact on you and the whole country. Even if football is just not your thing, the excitement and energy is something that you cannot be oblivious to. As for the football lovers out there, there is just one thing left to do-- put your boots on and unleash the feet of fury!

Football-- a game for all to enjoy and love!

Copyright (R) thedailystar.net 2012