FIFA senior development manager Mike Pfister has termed the draft master plan of the Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) as a very ambitious one and emphasised on the need for youth and grassroots development in the final plan.
The game's governing body presented a four-year master plan before a four-member FIFA delegation headed by Pfister -- the son of former Bangladesh coach Otto Pfister -- who came here to look at the BFF's tailor-made projects under the new FIFA Forward programme in which each FIFA member will be provided US$ 7.5 lakh per year, subject to approval from the FIFA development committee.
“It is very good opportunity to come here and discuss the massive plan. We discussed the potential support that FIFA can put on table. We will analyze it [the BFF master plan] in the next couple of months. FIFA is here to support the BFF to mobilise knowledge and provide financial support in key areas.
“FIFA doesn't distribute development funding. These funds are given for development programmes with a clear objective and we control that money very, very carefully. It is a controlled mechanism so that the money which is invested reaches its destined objective,” Pfister said at a media briefing at the BFF House yesterday, summing up the delegation's three-day visit to Bangladesh where they talked to high-ranking government officials, BFF higher-ups, club officials, DFA officials and BFF staff.
BFF president Kazi Salahuddin informed that they have already prepared four projects for the first year -- a year-long training programme for the national boy's U-16, girl's U-16 and men's U-18 teams ahead of the AFC and SAFF championships alongside the construction of a players' dormitory on the rooftop of the BFF House and a gymnasium. The fourth project is the running of two youth football tournaments across the country.
“It is a comprehensive plan [the four-year plan] but we still found it to be very ambitious and one advice is that the more projects they present, the harder it will be to reach their objectives. Our advice is to be realistic and concrete. Our plan is not for four year, it is for two years. We will see the first two years and, based on the success of these projects, we will start afresh for the next two years pending approval,” said Pfister.
“First and foremost, when there is no development at the grassroots and no youth football in a country, that country's future in football is endangered. Particular plans and particular angles can be put on grassroots and youth football development. It's a shame that no club here has a youth team,” added Pfister.
Pfister is well aware of the condition of Bangladesh football as he had been in Bangladesh with his father 20 years ago and he believes there is potential here.
“It's very difficult time now. Look at Bangladesh's performance on the international scene. Of course the performances at the international level are a reflection of what is done here. That is an alarming wake-up call. We believe that Bangladesh needs a turning point. It's always a time to close a chapter and begin a new one.”
Asked whether Bangladesh football was going down the right path, Pfister replied: “Before any success at the youth level, it is quite frequent that the country needs a wake-up call. Germany were crushed in the European Championships in 2010 and that was a wake-up call for them. After that they appointed a technical director for the first time and redesigned the system.
“Are we are on right track or not? We are not going down the same path and aiming for the same objectives. It is important to establish the objectives together. That is why we are here and why the master plan is being developed. We have advised them to make the master plan a unique one taking all the stakeholders into consideration. If the BFF follows the advice, I am sure you will see positives two years later,” he concluded.