Vol. 4 Num 346 Fri. May 21, 2004  

Zafar Imam no more

Secretary General of Bangladesh Olympic Association (BOA) and renowned sports organiser Zafar Imam died of a heart attack at the Suhrawardy Hospital in the city yesterday at the age of 65.

Imam suffered a mild stroke on May 12 and was admitted to the hospital soon after.

His condition deteriorated after two days as he suffered another attack at the hospital and the doctors had to install a pacemaker to help improve his condition.

He left behind his wife, an adopted daughter and a host of relatives and well-wishers to mourn his death.

A pall of gloom descended on the sports arena as the news of Imam's, a winner of the national sports award, death spread. Friends, relatives, sports organisers, former and current players, and officials could not believe that their fovourite Zafar bhai was no more.

Although he was born in Comilla on June 15 in 1941, Imam was the heart of the sports activities in Rajshahi. He had his schooling in Lokhnath School in Rajshahi and graduated from the Rajshahi University. He was a Rajshahi University blue.

Imam played both football and cricket in Rajshahi leagues for Friends Sporting Club between 1955-1966. He played in the Dhaka First Division Football League for Victoria Sporting Club in 1962 as a goalkeeper. He represented the then East Pakistan football team on a number of occasions.

He earned a lot of national and international awards in recognition to his contribution to the field of sports. He took over as the secretary general of BOA in 1998.

His first namaz-e-janaza was held in front of his residence at Dhanmondi. A second namaz-e-janaza was held at Bangabandhu National Stadium in the evening.

State Minister for Youth and Sports Fazlur Rahman, Water Resources Minister major (retd) Hafizuddin Ahmed, Mayor of Dhaka Sadeque Hossain Khoka, President of BOA Lt Gen Hasan Mashhud Choudhury, officials of different federations and sports personalities attended the janaza.

Imam's body will be flown to Rajshahi this morning where people will pay their last respect to the son they loved most. Another namaz-e-janaza will be held there. His body will then be flown back to Dhaka for burial at the Banani graveyard.

Prime Minister Khaleda Zia and Leader of the Opposition Sheikh Hasina expressed deep sorrow at the death of Imam.

They conveyed sympathy to the bereaved family members and prayed for salvation of the departed soul.

State Minister for Youth and Sports Fazlur Rahman also expressed his deep shock at the death of Imam.

In a condolence message, the minister said, "Zafar Imam was a sincere sports organiser. His death is an irreparable loss to the national sports."

Besides ministers, state ministers and a number of sports organisations have expressed deep shock at the death of the renowned organiser.

National Sports Council announced a three-day mourning. The programmes include lowering the official flag at half-mast, milad mahfil and condolence meeting.

Zafar Imam