Abu Bakar Siddique never thought he will get an opportunity to see Lionel Messi from so close let alone being involved in a game played by the Argentine superstar in some capacity.
But his dream is all set to come true as Bakar, 14, is one of the 16 young footballers selected to work as a ball-boys and flag-bearers at the Bangabandhu National Stadium during the September 6 friendly between Argentina and Nigeria.
‘I used to see stars like Ameli [Zahid Hasan], Aminul [Haque] or Mithun [Chowdhury] in the field and I was dreaming of becoming a footballer like them in the future,’ said Bakar.
‘I never thought I will be able to see a player like Messi and work in a game that he will be playing,’ said Bakar, a promising footballer of a local academy who is honing his skills in the pioneer league.
Bakar has been working as a ball-boy in all matches organised by the Bangladesh Football Federation but he was never excited like this as it will also give him a chance to see some top footballers from close.
Ali Asgar Hridoy, Bakar’s team-mate in pioneer league outfit Arambagh Junior KC, is also equally excited.
Hridoy, who scored seven goals in the last pioneer league, can’t believe his luck which took him close to a thing that was never in his wildest dreams. The only fear for him is politics that he said can push him aside anytime.
‘I heard that a lot of big guns are trying to push their children in our places. They are lobbying the BFF for the job, though I think only we deserve a chance. We have been working as ball-boys for many days and I just hope the BFF will not deny us from being part of this special occasion,’ he said.
‘We are players and we will learn a lot if we can see stars like Messi, Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain playing and practising in front us. So it is very important for us,’ he added.
Bangladesh Football Federation’s grounds committee chairman Fazlur Rahman Babul, who is the responsible person for appointment of the ball-boys, assured they will prefer the boys for the job who work regularly in this capacity.
Some of the regular ball-boys like Hamidul Islam Biplob, Mohammad Arman and Mohammad Faruque are Brazil supporters but still they are not ready to swap the job with anyone else during the Argentina-Nigeria friendly.
‘I do support Brazil but as a player I have my all respect for Messi since he is the best,’ said Faruque.
‘I think I have a lot to learn from Messi and I want to see him practising to know what are the drills he does,’ he added.
-With New Age input