Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Thursday, September 02, 2010


English Premier League
vs Bangladesh League

By Nayeem Islam

Barcalys Premier League is the most watched football league in the world and even if you are not a die hard fan of any of the top teams, you still probably know teams called Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool play that stupid game of football in that league. Bangladesh League? You probably have heard of it before yet you are not sure where it is played or what is played in it. That's because it's probably the least watched professional football league in the world. And you would pity the journalists who are forced to watch the mundane football on display.

Despite the gulf in standard of football and the money involved, the two leagues are tantalisingly similar in some respects:

Emergence of money bags: In 2008, the English Premier League saw the emergence of Manchester City as a financial powerhouse after they were purchased by the Abu Dhabi United Group. That takeover resulted in an unprecedented spending spree that has seen City add a galaxy of high profile players to their arsenal. They even trumped Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal and other European giants for the signature of star players like Robinho and Carlos Tevez.

Two years later two football clubs are having the same impact on the Bangladesh League. And if you thought the Big Three suffered in EPL due to the spending spree of Manchester City then, Muktijoddha Sangsad, the giant in slumber for the last two years and newcomers Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club's exploits can be best described as 'legitimate' highway robbery. That's because they have heated up the transfer market after seemingly tearing apart the tents of giants Abahani and Mohammedan, with each club already confirming 16 players- the majority of them being national players roped in from the two perennial favourites in local football. Thus compared to other seasons, Abahani and Mohammedan will be forced to field starting elevens full of neophytes and players past their prime, even with quality foreign signings.

The African effect: The influence of the African players in the premier league is undeniable. The likes of Didier Drogba, Adebayor, Essien and many others are star players for their respective clubs. Drogba is also last season's golden boot winner.

It's also difficult to imagine the Bangladesh League without African players like Alamu Bukola Olaleken, Emeka Christian, Dami Emanuel and others who have played in Bangladesh for a long time. Bukola was also last season's golden boot winner.

Effect on national team: Both leagues are thought to have detrimental effects on their respective national teams. The Bangladesh League is believed to be too unprofessional to act as the breeding ground of quality home grown players and thus produce a national team capable of at least triumphing in regional tournaments like SAFF Championships.

The cash rich Premier League also has been blamed for England's failures in the international tournaments like European Championships and World Cups. The intensity of competition, influx of excessive foreign players and no winter breaks in the Premier League are thought to be key reasons for the English trophy drought in international level.

Save the Children

Every year nine million children around the world die before getting the chance to celebrate their fifth birthday. 250,000 of these deaths occur in Bangladesh, most from easily preventable diseases like diarrhoea, pneumonia and measles. If we want to, we can make a difference and save the lives of these children.

The EVERY ONE campaign, a concern of the U.K based charity 'Save the Children' is coming to get fingerprints to save children's lives in Bangladesh and all over the world. It doesn't matter who or where one may be from - if they want to have a say, take action or simply think about saving children, then this is the platform to do so. These fingerprints will be showcased at the Millenium Development Goal (MDG) summit, which will take place during 20-22 September 2010 in New York.

In Bangladesh, 'Save the Children' is collecting fingerprints from Rabindra Sarabar, Eden College, Bashundhara City, TSC, Eastern Mollika, New Market, Shahbagh, Shadarghat, kamalapur, DU SM Hall, Swaparajito Shadhinota and Farmgate. To be a part of this movement look out for 'Save the Children' volunteers collecting thumbprints around the city.

At the end of the day, it's actions that save lives, even the simplest ones. Come and act now to save lives and tell the world leaders that they must act now to save lives.

Save the Children UK
Bangladesh Programme
House-10, Road-137
Gulshan-1, Dhaka-1212


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