Former star players and organisers stressed on the need for a combined and comprehensive effort to bring back the golden days of hockey in the country as the Bangladesh Hockey Federation (BHF) celebrated its 40th anniversary through a host of colourful events at the Maulana Bhasani National Hockey Stadium yesterday.
The anniversary celebrations coincided with the visit of the Federation of International Hockey (FIH) president Leandro Negre who left earlier yesterday morning. As the former Spaniard international gave some verbal assurances to take the country's hockey forward by providing technical, logistic and administrative support, the speakers yesterday hoped BHF would grab this opportunity with both hands.
Legendary hockey player Abdus Sadeque, who played against Negre as part of the Pakistan XI squad in 1969, hoped the stimuli would continue. “With the arrival of the FIH president Leandro Negre the horizon of new prospects has been opened. Today's programme, I hope will continue to inspire all those involved in hockey to work together,” said Sadeque who was felicitated along with Khawja Yusuf Reza (posthumous), Bashir Ahmed, Abdus Sadeque, Azizullah Haider Jamal and Jumman Lusai.
Jumman Lusai, the first Bangladeshi hockey player to be included in a World XI back in 1985, hoped hockey again reaches the level that prevailed when they were playing. “We don't want to be the world champions, but we can reach the Asian level and show Bangladesh has the potential to go further,” said Jumman.
Former coaches, all general secretaries, umpires and journalists were also felicitated for their contribution to the country's hockey. BHF also honoured the sponsors and organisations that extended their hand of support over the course.
BHF president Air Marsahal Enamul Bari and general secretary Khwaja Rahmatullah handed over the crests to the recipients. The programme started with a rally and included a veterans' match, a fashion parade of the national players and a cultural programme in the afternoon session.