Bangladesh football Federation has promised to save the young boys of National Under-16 football team, who achieved a phenomenal success by becoming the unbeaten champions in the SAFF Championship, from the pitfall of greed and glitter of short-time glory. The BFF is planning to give the teen-aged boys, who displayed wonderful brand of football throughout the tournament to showcase their skills, a four-year plan to excel their talents and safeguard them from all sorts of temptations.
The achievement of the boys was not only acknowledged by the jam-packed Sylhet stadium but gave every football-lovers of the country, including the BFF president Kazi Salahuddin, a great hope for the future.
Instead of getting carried away by the success, Salahuddin is in favour of setting long-term goals for the boys so that they can be prized asset for Bangladesh in future.
‘I could please them with financial incentives but they are still very young,’ BFF president told New Age after Bangladesh’s penalty shootout win over India in the final.
‘I thought to train them with local and foreign coaches will be the biggest incentive for them.’
‘These boys will be nurtured in the BFF academy for next four years so that in future they could become the new generation of Bangladesh Football.
Salahuddin met the players in their hotel after the match and gave an inspirational speech to them, according to coach Syed Golam Jilani, who made them prepare for the tournament with just 20 days.
‘BFF president visited us after the final match and discussed with our players,’ said Jilani.
‘He gave them options whether they will be content with 10-15 thousand taka per month now or get them prepared in next four years to provide a chance to earn in crores,’ he added.
Jilani said that the president is aware that many of these boys are hailed from families with humble financial conditions. According to the coach, Salahuddin promised financial help for their families if needed.
’The president said his federation would provide some financial aides to the boys whose families are dependent on them,’ said Jilani.
Badal Roy, a BFF vice-president and chairman of development committee, said after the final a number of clubs expressed their interest to sign the Under-16 players for their youth teams but they had refused them.
‘After the final a lot of clubs have shown their interests to pick the players, but we refused them as we have decided to keep them in the academy for the next four years.
‘We will sell them to clubs only when they will be ready after that,’ he added.
Among the 23 members of the Bangladesh Under-16 team, currently only five players are from the BFF academy. Badal said they will now take all 23 players in the academy, though managing such a big group will not be an easy job, he said.
‘This success has become an eye-opener for us,’ said Badal. ‘Everyone including the BFF president have witnessed the match and realised that with long term planning these boys can bring a lot more success.’
‘However, the reality is very difficult, as a BFF insider I know how difficult it is to run the academy’, he added.
BFF setup its first football academy in Sylhet during the last November to produce and nurture young talents and that bore sweet fruits just within a year.
The academy players in the SAFF winning squad includes skipper Shawon Hossain, Atiquzzaman, Jahangir Alam Sajib, Saaduddin and Minhajul Abedin Rakib.
Four of them were chosen by the coach among five players for taking the penalties during the tie-breaker, which came as an indication of their mental strength. .
Shwaon, who was assigned to take the final kick though not required in the end as his three academy mates successfully converted their penalty kicks alongside Fahim Murshed.
Former national player and now a member of the development committee under BFF, Hasanuzzaman Bablu, hoped the BFF will maintain the sincerity to give the youngsters a bright future.
‘Everyone worked sincerely with the team before SAFF and I believe everyone will work in this spirit in future, thus our football will be improved,’ said Bablu.
The Under-16 footballers will stay in the camp for their next assignment, which is the group matches of AFC Under-16 qualifiers, scheduled in Dhaka next month.
-With New Age input