While the entire country is gripped by the Lionel Messi fever with the arrival time of the Argentine superstar looming close, national cricket captain Sakib al Hasan is also not an exception.
Sakib, currently Bangladesh’s biggest sporting icon, is a keen follower of Messi, so much so that he even recently switched his support to Barcelona from English football giants Chelsea for the magical marksman.
The all-rounder said he has already dropped everything from his September 6 schedules for watching Messi during the Argentina-Nigeria friendly at the Bangabandhu National Stadium.
Sakib, however, is still unsure if he will be able to see Messi and Argentina as he is yet to manage a ticket for the high-profile football friendly.
‘I am very excited about the game as Messi is one of my favourite footballers,’ Sakib told New Age over phone from his hometown Magura on Sunday.
‘I will definitely see the game. I don’t think I will be able to go to the field, but I can assure I will not miss a single minute of the game.
‘I am hoping to get a ticket but still it is not arranged. If I don’t get the ticket then I will watch the game on television. Let’s hope there will be no load-shedding in my area on the day,’ Sakib said.
Sakib’s passion for foot ball cannot be underestimated as his family has a good connection with the game. His father Mashrur Reza was an amateur footballer in his home town Magura while one of his cousins, Mehedi Hasan Uzzal, went on to represent the national football team.
Before taking up cricket seriously at the age of 15 in 2002 Sakib also used to play football and his favourite position was midfield.
His liking for Messi is quite well known in the cricketing fraternity as he often takes inspiration from the Argentine little magician when he is down with frustration.
His close friends said Sakib often watches Messi on YouTube, a video sharing site, whenever Bangladesh lose any game or he performs badly.
He did so last time after Bangladesh lost the third one-dayer against Zimbabwe in the recent series. Bangladesh lost the game by five runs which ended their six-year long unbeaten record in a series against Zimbabwe.
Sakib is also fascinated by the boots that Messi uses and whenever he gets a chance he buys a pair of them for himself, said his close aides.
‘No doubt, Messi is the greatest footballer on the planet right now. His ability on the field is awesome and I like everything that he does with the ball,’ said an excited Sakib.
Sakib is also sure the match will help the Bangladesh’s football gather a much-needed tempo to bring back its hey days.
‘I am sure that the Argentina-Nigeria game will add some new dimension to Bangladesh’s football. The young generation would be keen to see their idol and some of them will also start playing the game which will ultimately help football,’ he added.
-With New Age input