By Sadman Alvi
After much anticipation, worries and delays finally the ball has been set rolling in the inaugural B. League. The inception of B. League, the professional football league of Bangladesh sees our football follow the footsteps of other Asian countries like Japan (J. League), South Korea (K. League), Singapore (S. League) and so forth, to enter the alluring realm of professional football. Bangladesh is the first South Asian nation to achieve this feat, thanks to the “Vision Bangladesh” project, under the direct supervision of AFC.
The league kicked off with the clash between two giants from Dhaka- Abahani and Muktijoddha Sangsad. But not before a rather lengthy opening ceremony, something that is quite usual for any sports event taking place in the country.
Although many would argue about weather the chaotic Bangladeshi football is ready to turn professional, I personally feel it's a step in the right direction. Now hopefully the footballers will no longer have to hold rallies and seminars just to get to play. No longer will we have to see weird systems like “The Super Six” or the pool system (a rule that forces any club to select only a restricted amount of players from the national team). Also every season the clubs won't have a nearly new team as they have to sign contracts with players keeping them for several years. The players will hopefully get paid in time, insuring their financial well being and consequently encouraging more young players to become footballers.
Although there are still many problems remaining, for example- none of the clubs have a clear idea about the professional system, every single one of the eight clubs from Dhaka have selected Bangabondhu Stadium as their home ground, Bangladesh Football Federation haven't been able to find a sponsor, already one team have withdrawn their name from the league making it a 11 team tournament and the list goes on. But despite these setbacks let's hope BFF can successfully pull this off.
Despite the current condition I do believe that Bangladesh football has a future. We might not be able to become one of the elites in the footballing world but if we can get the infrastructure right and improve our youth football system we might just become good enough for the Asian level, providing that we, the youths remain their with our spontaneous support. I admit that the quality (or rather the lack of quality) of football displayed in the league might be a turn off and most would prefer to watch the World Cup Cricket instead. Also another obvious thing is that derby matches between the likes of Ababhani & Mohamedan will not exhibit the skill or flair seen in matches between the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona, but it's still worth watching as they are the professional clubs of our country.
I guess illustrating these facts is pointless as all of you are pretty much aware of it.. But the bottom line, is regardless of everything else I will certainly find some time to make my way to the stadium to see some of these matches. Let's just hope with the world cup cricket going on some of you can also find some interest in the B. League.