Kazi Salahuddin: Bangladesh football’s first superstar
The legendary Bangladeshi footballer was known for his charismatic style and goalscoring prowess. He later became a successful coach and administrator.
In 1968, he made his debut for Dilkusha Sporting Club in the Second Division league and helped the team win the championship that year by top scoring with 14 goals. Then in 1969, he played for Wari in the First Division League, scoring a hat trick against Rahmatganj in the first match. The following year, Salahuddin signed up for Mohammedan Sporting Club and played till 1972 before joining Abahani Krira Chakra. It was at Abahani that he became a superstar. Kazi Salahuddin emerged as the top scorer with 24 goals in the same season and repeated this achievement in 1977, 1979, and 1980 as well. The 68-year-old legendary Bangladeshi footballer’s journey to international recognition began in 1973 when he made his debut for the Bangladesh national football team in the prestigious Merdeka Cup held in Malaysia. On that fateful day, Salahuddin displayed exceptional skills, scoring in Bangladesh’s first official game against Thailand. His goal was also the country’s second-ever international goal. After a year without international football, Kazi Salahuddin and his team Bangladesh were invited to take part in the 1975 edition of the Merdeka Cup. It was during this tournament that he caught the eye of the world with his stunning solo goal against Hong Kong. The strike also earned interest from foreign clubs and he accepted the proposal to play for Caroline Hill FC in the Hong Kong First Division League in the 1975-76 season.