The much-talked Bangladesh Football Federation elections will be held today at the Radisson Water Garden Hotel with a total of 134 delegates choosing the 21-member executive committee from 46 candidates. The elections turned out to be a tough contest for incumbent BFF president Kazi Salahuddin, who is seeking his third term after eight years at the helm since 2008.Member of parliament and the president of Narsingdi District Football Association, Kamrul Ashraf Khan Poton, mounted a strong challenge for Salahuddin unlike the previous two terms.
Though Poton is a little known figure in country’s football arena, he received a strong backing from Manzur Kader, the president of Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club.
In the hindsight, this has became a battle between Salahuddin and Kader, who both claimed to have a strong relationship with the government high-ups.
Two other candidates for president post – Golam Robbani Helal and Nurul Islam Nuru – are officially still in the race but already announced their support respectively for Salahuddin and Poton
Salahuddin is going to compete for the president post for third successive time against Poton, who is mostly familiar for his political recognition.
Salahuddin will compete under the banner of combined panel, which gave candidates for all 21 posts while Kader-backed Bachao Football panel has candidates for 19 posts.
Former footballer Abdus Salam Murshedy was elected unopposed in the senior vice-president post from the combined panel as Bachao Football gave him a walkover.
Kader, Mohammedan official Lokman Hossain Bhuiyan and former footballer Dewan Shafiul Arefin Tutul have all submitted their nomination papers for the post only to withdraw it dramatically.
A total of 10 candidates are vying for the four vice-president posts with current vice-presidents Kazi Nabil Ahmed and Badol Roy are being backed by combined panel alongside Shamsul Haque Chowdhury and Mahiuddin Ahmed Mohi.
Bachao Football panel, on the other hand, also have four candidates — Nazib Ahmed, Ashrafuddin Ahmed Chunnu, AKM Mominul Haque Sayeed and Khurshid Babul.
Another current vice-president of BFF Tabith Awal and additional inspector general of police Sheikh Mohammad Maruf Hasan are also candidates for vice-president post.
The BFF provided accommodation to 67 delegates from district and divisional level at hotel Radisson, where the annual general meeting of the body will also be held in the morning.
President candidate Poton also got a room at the Radisson being the representative of Narsingdi DFA. So, Poton will be running his campaign on the final day effectively form the poll centre, though Salahuddin said it will give him no special advantage.
Salahuddin, arguably the finest footballer the country has ever produced, was confident of his success as he said his rival Poton is apparently an outsider in country’s football arena.
‘I am very much confident of my win in the election because I have full faith on my delegates,’ Salahuddin told reporters on Friday.
Salahuddin also wished every candidate a good luck including his main rival Poton.
‘I wish them all the best. I hope we all together will present a smooth and transparent elections tomorrow [today].’
Poton, on the other hand, also kept his faith on the delegates.
‘Everyone who came to visit me said I’m the right person who can save the football,’ Poton said adding that, ‘We will win the elections inshallah.’
Among 134 voters, 68 delegates will represent divisions and districts while 52 delegates are representing clubs and the rest of 20 delegates will come from different educational boards and services organisations.
Independent observers said it will not be easy for any panel to come out hundred per cent successful.
‘It’s really tough for me to predict anything because there are lots of equations,’ said Ashikur Rahman Miku, the deputy general secretary of BOA.
Mun Si Song, manager of members association and international affairs of AFC came on Thursday as observer for the elections.
The election will start at 2:00pm following the annual general meeting of BFF.
-With New Age input