The Bangladesh Football Federation aspires to take on the challenge of developing the beautiful game in Bangladesh through its dedicated members, diplomacy and of course the nationwide projects that drive the organization towards success. The year 2018 consisted of many dynamic activities that gave the federation a new momentum. Let us look back into progress of the federation as the year comes to an end.
Steps to develop football
The importance of a solid national team that is able to attract spectators in the stadiums is an undeniable fact. With the aim to build a strong national side with professional players, the federation appointed Jamie Day, a British Football Specialist, as the chief coach of the Bangladesh National Team back in May 19. His coaching method has proved to be successful as the national and youth teams have displayed extraordinary skill in SAFF, AFC and other qualifying tournaments. From March 13, 2018, the BFF started selling the annual lottery ticket to collect funds for developing football in grassroots level. The public response was extraordinary and the federation was able to collect funds that have boosted the progression of football in district and grassroots level. The draw of the lottery was held in May 26. In addition to that, the Sheikh Kamal Stadium in Nilphamari district debuted in international football organizing with a friendly match between hosts Bangladesh and visiting Sri Lanka. The crowd gathering during the match was massive, which has garnered praise as the efforts of the BFF to bring spectators to the ground have been proved to be successful in towns and cities across the country. On December 7, 2018, BFF President Kazi Salahuddin visited the Fortis sports ground in Beraid Madani Avenue in Dhaka in order to inspect the ground for a possible BFF run football academy. An academy to train youth for football with all the necessary specifications has been on the cards and the BFF is actively working to make the dream a reality.
Kazi Salahuddin – The man behind the scene
As a former footballer, BFF president Kazi Salahuddin is always on the hunt for potential talent for the game. Back in November 5 when the U-15 National Team came back from Nepal after their unbeaten SAFF Championship run, the BFF president immediately took steps to make long-term contracts with aspiring youngsters. The decision led to 3-year long contracts with the potential booters who are now under monthly salary scheme and are able to receive training on a regular basis under expert guidance of BFF coaches. The time-worthy decision of Kazi Salahuddin helped the federation to retain talent which is much needed for success. In October, the BFF president contacted AFC representatives to initiate a social responsibility programme that would help promote football for good. Kazi Salahuddin was instrumental in organizing football training programmes for underprivileged street children in Dhaka and refugee children in Rohingya camps. “We have a social responsibility. With the power of football, we can do something good,” he said while piloting the project in Dhaka recently. In addition to that, the president encouraged further participation in women football through cash incentives and contract offers that has helped to keep young women attached to the game. He presented prize money to members of the U-15 Women’s National Team back in September 13 as the girls brought home the SAFF U15 Women’s Championship. The president has also managed funds for former footballer who had played for the country. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina granted funds to families of later footballers back in September and Kazi Salahuddin was present in the events. He was also instrumental in arranging the Bangabandhu Gold Cup 2018, where five other international teams participated alongside hosts Bangladesh. Alongside his regular activities as the helm of the federation, Kazi Salahuddin has presented commendable liaison skills in the year 2018.
Mahfuza Akhter Kiron – Still breaking boundaries
Kiron made headlines when she became the first ever Bangladeshi to be elected in the FIFA Council, the highest regulatory body of the association. While serving as the Chairman of the Women’s Football Committee and a member of the AFC Executive Committee, Kiron secured a spot in FIFA with 20-years of experience in sports organizing back in May 8, 2017. Back in April 8, 2018, Kiron won the ‘Anannya Top 10’ award, the prize featuring women in Bangladesh who have contributed to women empowerment in the country. Bangladesh women’s team star Maria Manda was also among the 10 winners highlighting BFF’s good work with women’s football. The prestigious award highlighted Kiron’s contribution to the development of women’s football in Bangladesh She then went on to represent the BFF president as a goodwill ambassador and presidential envoy at the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia which took place from June 14 to July 15. Kiron, already helming the important positions in the football arena, was then elected as an executive committee member of the newly formed South West Asian Football Federation (SWAFF) back in August 12 at the SWAFF Congress held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Recently in November 29, Kiron represented Bangladesh at the AFC Annual Awards 2018 where she handed over the award of AFC Women’s Coach of the Year to Japan’s Asako Takakura at the awards ceremony. All in all, Mahfuza Akhter Kiron was one of the most successful members of BFF that garnered praise for Bangladesh in 2018.
Success in organizing tournaments and deals
Diplomacy is the key to success when it comes to securing deals and organizing tournaments. The SAFF Suzuki Cup 2018 and the AFC U16 Women’s Championship 2019 qualifiers took place in Bangabandhu National Stadium and the BSSSM Mostafa Kamal Stadium in Dhaka from September 4-15 and from September 15-23 respectively. International tournaments of such scale require significant logistical support. The BFF held meetings with the Youth and Sports Ministry and representatives of law enforcing agencies to ensure smooth sailing of the prestigious tournaments in one of the busiest capitals of the world. Both the tournaments were a massive success. In addition to that, BFF President Kazi Salahuddin held meetings with presidents of District Football Associations (DFA) to mobilize the district football countries in 62 districts back in September 2. A strong leadership by the president allowed the associations to carry out district football leagues successfully and the tier-based financial system worked as an incentive. The federation in its 11the Executive Committee meeting held on June 2 signed a 5-year media broadcasting rights deal with MP & Silva, an international media rights company based in London with 13 offices around the globe. The company’s portfolio includes FIFA World Cup rights, senior European football leagues, Grand Slam tennis, motor racing, handball, baseball, volleyball, and boxing. Back in August 9, the federation signed a contract with K Sports to organize the Bangabandhu Gold Cup 2018 with six international teams. The deal with the able private organization paved a path for success in the tournament. The federation also secured a sponsorship deal for Women’s Football with the Dhaka Bank on November 20 this year. In addition, on December 3, UNICEF Bangladesh signed a two-year-long partnership agreement with Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF), to bolster girls’ empowerment through football. The agreement is part of UNICEF’s long-term commitment to make sports available for all, especially women and girls.
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