The huge crowd gathering in Sylhet to watch Bangladesh Under-23 team’s friendly against Nepal may have provided football organisers an eye opener on Friday, but ironically the top officials of the Bangladesh Football Federation missed the scene.
More than 40,000 fans scrambled at the Sylhet district stadium and nearly made a mess when they took their seat near the touchline after being unable to find place in the gallery. It raised a fear that Nepal might refuse to play the game, but in the hindsight this was a very pleasing scenario for Bangladesh football.
The BFF officials are often seen bemoaning lack of spectators, which, they said is a major drawback for wooing the sponsors.
They have now at least one example to show and football insiders said they must thank their luck for it.
What happened in Sylhet on Friday could have easily been a nightmare and they would have only themselves to blame in that case.
Only two executive members – Amirul Islam Babu and Fazlur Rahman Babul – were present at the venue and that too with specific assignments.
The BFF entirely left it to the local officials who had little experience in handling a match of this stature.
Sylhet has already earned a bad name for poor crowd management with several examples of pitch invasion in local and national level matches.
But the BFF appeared completely oblivious of the fact as no officials deemed it necessary to remain present at the ground.
‘It’s not very normal thing,’ said Mustakur Rahman, the secretary general of the Bangladesh Krira Unnayan Parishad, a platform of rival orginsers. To organise an international match you have to follow certain rules. There is little room for being emotional.’
Former national footballer Golam Rabbani Helal said the no-show of the BFF officials was significant for some other reasons.
‘The BFF often asks the government for money to develop the game. Finance minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith was present during the match. The BFF had the chance to show him how the general people are still passionate about the game. But they missed that chance surely,’ he said.
-With New Age input