The Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) is seemingly desperate to launch its football academy in Sylhet within a short period of time, almost two and a half years into the five-year deal with Bangladesh Krira Shikkha Protisthan (BKSP).
Though BFF president Kazi Salahuddin wanted to start the academy in August through a preparation camp of Bangladesh U-23 team ahead of the Asian Games, he had to drop his plan as only 70 percent of the pending work has so far been completed.
At the deal-signing ceremony, Salahuddin had urged the government to equip the academy which has the capacity to accommodate a 100-student dormitory, an administrative building, an official-and-staff quarter, two grounds, one gymnasium and a swimming pool. But the reality is that the progress of work has often been held back due to long-winding government procedures.
However, latest developments at the academy has made BFF hopeful that they can finally launch the academy in September or October through the training camp of U-13 age group players, with the financial assistance of National Sports Council. The talent hunt for the U-13 age group has already started across the country, with an eye on the participation in the AFC U-14 Championship in 2015.
“60 percent work of the installation of furnitures for 70 players' accommodation has been completed so far. 90 percent work of one ground has been completed while 50 percent of the other has been completed. The speed at which the work is going, we will still need one more month to complete everything,” said BFF technical director BA Jubair Nipu, who has been monitoring the NSC work at the academy in Sylhet since the work started in May 2013.
“To be honest we can't fulfil the BFF president's wish to start the academy's activities through national team in August but we are hopeful of lunching it through the training of U-13 boys within a short period of time,” said Nipu.
BFF vice president and development committee chairman Badal Roy said that the talent hunt programme has already got underway and they would be scouting for players from Upazila level.
“Initially some 300 footballers will be picked from all upazilas and then the number will be reduced to 30 to 35 after providing them one month's basic training at divisional level,” said Roy. “I am expecting to start the camp at the Sylhet BKSP by late September or early October.”
However the question remains how the cash-strapped football federation will run the academy? BFF's general secretary Abu Nayeem Shohag said, “It is true that we will not be able to start the academy on a large scale but we have allocated a fund to run the academy on the basis of training camp.”
Meanwhile, FIFA has already disbursed 4 lakh dollars out of 7 lakh allocated for the academy and the BFF plans to inaugurate the academy at the presence of FIFA officials to ensure that the remaining fund is disbursed in time.