Bangladesh Football Federation president Kazi Salahuddin yesterday gave an emotional speech to all concerned during a press conference arranged for a briefing about the selected players for the national team's camp for September's Asian Games. The BFF boss urged the players to play with utmost dedication and integrity so that the government and people of the country take notice of its football, which according to him 'is passing through a difficult period'.
The press conference was held at the BFF house where apart from the players, the coaches of the national team – Lodewijk de Kruif and Rene Koster and BFF officials were present.
Salahuddin, who had a fruitful discussion with the two coaches over their unpaid wages the previous day, relayed his frustration over the state of affairs of the game; namely the lack of funds to run the federation and development programs of football and the lack of commitment of some of the players in the recent past.
“I don't have any good news for you today,” said Salahuddin, addressing the players present there. “Our football is going through a difficult period. The way football is running at the moment, it will be hard to sustain things for long. The federation, in itself, does not have the capability to pay for all the expenditures. The FIFA fund that we get is not enough to even meet the coaches' salaries which is why we need financial support from sponsors and the government,” said Salahuddin.
Realising the grim scenario which Bangladesh's football finds itself in – the lack of headway in the fund-proposal made to the government (A five-year budget worth Tk 35 crore each year), the inability to clear the wages of coaches in due time and the unflattering performance of the national team in recent times, Salahuddin feels it's up to the players to make their case noticed.
“Only the players can turn the scenario now. I want more responsibility from players and only by doing that can they grab the attention of the government and the people. I'm not asking for anything extraordinary from you, but I want success as per the best of your ability,” Salahuddin said.
The BFF boss was also critical of some of the players' commitment as he cited a few examples of their unprofessional attitude, referring especially to captain Mamunul Islam's failure to report to the camp.
“Mamunul Islam didn't report today due to his uncle's death two days ago. I can understand Mamunul's emotions, but reality is that when you are a professional footballer, there is hardly any scope for being emotional. I can say from my experience, when my father died in 1994, I laid him to rest in the afternoon and then went to practice in the evening. I want that sort of dedication from you.”
The BFF boss cited a few more examples from the recent past to explain that the players, who failed to live up to their expectations in the past, need to stand up for the cause of the national team and for saving Bangladesh's football.
“I'm asking you to dedicate yourselves for the next ten years and that would change the scenario of our football. You are the ambassadors of the country and only you can save football now,” finished Salahuddin.