Low paid coaches bring rich rewards

September 10, 2016

When the Bangladesh Football Federation spent thousands of dollars on foreign coaches, it is the low paid local coaches who brought some reasonable success for the country.
Golam Rabbani Choton became the latest example of successful local coaches as he helped Bangladesh Under-16 women’s football team qualify for the final round of Asian Under-16 Women’s Championship.
Choton, earlier brought back-to-back titles for Bangladesh in AFC Under-14 girls’ regional championship in Nepal and Tajikistan respectively in 2014 and 2016.
Choton started as a development coach in 2006 with a salary of $500 only to see his remuneration getting reduced to $400 two years later when the federation categorised the local coaches.
In the past eight years BFF raised his salary by only $40, said the officials.
Choton is now drawing only $440 (Tk 35,200), which is 23 times lower than the salary of current national coach Tom Saintfiet, who gets $10,000 per month.
Officials said, the total salary of BFF’s 20 local coaches is less than $3000 than that of Belgian head coach.
BFF began appointing local development coaches in 2004 with the financial help of Asian Football Confederation but revised the pay structure four years later hitting some of them hard.
With the new gradation system in place, many coaches, including Choton, who was downgraded as B category coach, saw their salary getting reduced to a significant level.
Speaking to New Age, Choton refused to make any comments over his monthly wages.
‘As an employee of BFF, I don’t want to make any comments over that issue but I believe they [BFF] will evaluate my performances now,’ he said.
Not everyone, however, was as humble as Choton.
Syed Golam Jilani, who guided Bangladesh Under-16 boys to SAFF championship last year, made no attempt to hide his frustration.
‘I’m totally fed-up with football coaching,’ said an emotional Jilani, who took the BFF job in 2004.
‘I never saw anywhere in world that a coach’s monthly salary got reduced,’ he said. ‘I requested BFF several times to increase my salary but they overlooked my request every time.’
Despite winning the SAFF Under-16 Championship in 2015, he did not get any pay hike.
‘I continued my job here only because of my family. I have a daughter who is a student of university level and a son who is a grade-three student, so I had to continue.
Currently only one of the BFF’s development coaches is in A category. The lone A category coach Saiful Bari Titu draws monthly salary of Tk 96,000.
BFF admitted that they failed to revise the salary structure due to financial crisis.
‘AFC provides us a set amount of $7,000 for the purpose of coach’s salary,’ BFF’s vice-president Badal Roy told New Age on Friday.
‘I always think over that issue but I have nothing to do because BFF spends a little amount for the coach’s development citing financial crisis.’
Roy, who is also chairman of BFF’s development committee, criticised the high-ups for neglecting the local coaches.
‘As a chief of development committee I am fully aware of coach’s workload. Their contribution in local football enormous, I would say.
‘Right now they are busy scouting talents in 350 upazilas but some of our top officials tend to ignore them.
‘I raised my voice several times on the issue but our high-ups are busy setting some unrealistic goal and planning for hosting overambitious tournament,’ he said.

-With New Age input

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