It was on March 22 when Grameenphone players won the SC Trophy 2014 qualifying round at the Handball Stadium and earned the exclusive right to play at Anfied. Photo: Star File
It is a remarkable turnaround for a team to go all the way to hit the jackpot after losing their opening game 4-1. It may be a non-descript event considering that it involved only amateurs whose participation was precisely passion-driven. But the Bangladesh leg of Standard Chartered Trophy 2014 carried immense meaning for the triumphant Grameenphone football team consisting of players who had hardly kicked a soccer ball for more than five years before their enrolment in the tournament.
For the record the enfant terrible of GP won the final against Epylion Group 2-0 at the Handball Court adjacent to the Bangabandhu National Stadium on March 22. And that win suddenly turned out to be a dream-come-true for the lucky GP 7. They are now on their way to Anfield, the home of English football giants Liverpool FC.
The mission of the GP team, which now proudly declare themselves as team Bangladesh in the 5-a-side meet, is to go one better in a day-long rumble along with 13 other SC Trophy 2014 winners on the famous venue of the Reds in the grand finale on May 13.
Not many people in the world have got the opportunity to enjoy a football match at Anfield, let alone play on the hallowed turf, which is the home of one of the greatest English clubs holding the most European titles.
“It's an amazing feeling. I can't believe that I will be walking on the green top of Anfield. We thank Standard Chartered Bank for providing us this once in a lifetime opportunity,” said GP team captain Mahbubul Haque, who is also the lone defender of an attack-heavy side.
“This is an opportunity that even a member of the Bangladesh football team will envy,” quipped an excited Mozahidul Islam, who claims to be a winger.
If playing in Anfield is something that the lucky seven cannot wait to be a part of, they are equally thrilled to be on the stands on May 11 when Liverpool host Newcastle United in a potentially 'crunch match' of the English Premier League this season.
Liverpool, now sharing the top spot with Manchester City, have the opportunity to win the title after 24 long years provided that they win their last two games and City lose one point in their last three fixtures.
Standard Chartered is the proud partner in the progress of Liverpool. The six-year partnership that started in 2010 reached dizzy heights this year with Liverpool staging a magnificent run of form much to the delight of its millions of fans across the world.
The Bangladesh head office of the bank in Gulshan is understandably proud to stick a life-size poster of Liverpool's inspirational captain Steven Gerrard, who has been almost perfect in his new role of operating from the deep until a slip against Chelsea a week ago.
This is the third edition of the SC Trophy in which 14 markets of the global bank including Bangladesh, Pakistan, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Indonesia et al are taking part.
The Bangladesh team is leaving on May 9 with a hope to create a small piece of history or to be a part of history. However, one thing is for sure, that both winners and vanquished will sing the same song once at Anfield: “You will never walk alone”.