Union lifts National Football League trophy.
all have a passion that fuels us to march forward. For some
it may be the sweet rhythm of rock 'n' roll or a few gentle
strokes of a brush on a canvas. My passion is sports, namely
soccer. I developed this love right after I discovered kicking.
Having had prior chances to practice on numerous people (namely
friends) all throughout my life, I seriously started to take
up this sport. Even though I am not an expert in the 'field'
of soccer, I strive for that winning moment…the moment
of exhilaration when the ball hits the back of the net, when
the whole audience cheers in unison and the echo 'Goooooooooooal'
roars into eternal space and time. Yes! It is rather nice
to score in soccer but that chance is dim when you are not
too careful during striking; and that chance is even bleaker
when you're playing in central defence. That's my position
younger days, I always wanted to play in centre-field. I always
envied how Pavel Nedved, the 32-year-old Czech midfielder
currently playing for Juventus, got so much pace and the angle
in his pass. It was almost geometric, every throw and every
cross, simply perfect. Zinedine Zidane, playing for Real Madrid,
is another mid-fielder who has become a living legend. This
Frenchman's ability to bend a game in his favour, even at
the last minute, not to mention bending the ball around a
host of defenders, has made him a hero in every soccer-fan's
to my topic, I was ecstatic when Miller, our captain, told
me that we were supposed to have a practice match with this
other university. This sort of match has always brought out
the kicker in me. Not only were the practice matches really
fun, there was no real pressure to succeed, just as long as
you could learn to correct the mistakes you made. And boy
did we have a lot to learn. Our team had been meeting for
practice every day at 7am since last week and we were a lot
more organised. We had more stamina and had developed an understanding
of 'barrier' that we previously had mistaken for the other
person's faults. I guess that's human for you, always brooding
over what the other person did and forgetting about your own
failings in the process.
for Miller, he has to pick up a lot of players as he was on
route to the practice field in Motijheel, something like a
'water-pool'. The previous day, a record of eight healthy
players managed to squeeze into his purple Toyota. We got
to the field half-an-hour late, and quickly figured out the
other team hadn't showed up yet. Could our presence have scared
them off? Or were they wiser and chose not to play on such
a wet field, still soggy from last night's downpour? I was
mulling over the first option when I noticed some of them
strolling onto the field.
a practice match, we kicked off with a mix of both reserve
and starting players. Most players didn't feel the usual blues
at not being in the starting eleven as it gave them a chance
to hurl comments at the players. Everyone tried to find a
good spot up-front on the sidelines, while the players got
together in the centre of the field to shake hands and get
themselves introduced to one another. I have no idea why people
follow this ritual, as no one really cares. It would be much
better if they simply chanted their jersey number so that
we would at least differentiate the attackers from the defenders
and get a head start on 'marking-out' players.
as the match commenced, we had the lead, thanks to our striker
Kashef. His skills, thanks mostly to a popular Play Station
2 game 'Winning Eleven' was no match for our opponent's defence
as he penetrated them again and again. He made his peace when
he had a hat-trick to his name and finally, was substituted
by Shantono. Not to be outdone, Shantono too put three past
the keeper. The match was full of counter attacks, but our
defenders dominated and made sure that the ball didn't get
as far as our keeper. Their defence is another story.
won by a landslide, the final score being 8 - 0. We thoroughly
congratulated our opponents, not for their performance but
for their spirit. But their facial expressions did make us
wonder as to what sort of curses were crossing their minds.
Still a win is a win and a step closer to our goal: the cup
for the Intra-University Champion. But what will be our next
step? How far can one go in the ladder of soccer in Bangladesh
and at what cost? Will I ever be remembered as a legend, if
I do make it to the top? Or will I be one of those who catch
a glimpse of the peak before someone else comes and climbs
over? The soccer scene in Bangladesh is somewhat desolate
with more foreign players coming in and less local players
going out. One thing that cannot escape the eyes is that soccer
admirers are, slowly but surely, being brainwashed into cricket
fans. The love for these two sports is so immense that they
are even played in the same fields, at the same time, side-by-side.
Bangladeshis are crazy about soccer, they seem more interested
in the English Premier League and Italian Leagues compared
to Dhaka's ten-club premier soccer league. "Concentrate
on the topic at hand," my mom always says. So, for the
time being, I guess I'll keep my mind on the university matches
and leave international soccer to others, to the likes of
Pele and Maradona.
(R) thedailystar.net 2004