Atique Anam

Maradona must be smiling

While the fans of Italian football continue to struggle to convince their peers from the English Premier League and LaLiga about the relevance of Serie A in European footballing hierarchy, it is with a renewed optimism that they can now boast about Napoli – the new entertainers of European football.

5d ago

Hijacking success, chasing clout

The Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) seems to have mastered the art of spoiling its own party every time it achieves something substantial. It has this uncanny knack of producing moments of controversy just when the whole nation is looking towards it with great anticipation.

The inexplicable case of Argentina’s second coming

Bangladesh is a queer case of polar extremes.

From doubted to immortalised

Lionel Scaloni hardly ever shows emotion in the dugout. Whether his team scores a crucial goal or a spectacular one, he hardly moves a facial muscle, let alone unleash a joyous celebration like the ones you see from most coaches around the world. He sits there with a straight face, like a monk deep in meditation.

All roads lead to Lusail

Vamos Argentina has been the resounding choir on match days and non-match days, among Argentina fans who made up a majority of the Qatar 2022 fanbase. Now there was Allez Les Bleus -- another choir to rival that. Maybe the roars of ‘Allez Les Blues’ was not as  deafening as La Albiceleste’s ‘Vamos Argentina’, but certainly equal in expectation and fervour.

Argentina's Angel of fortune

Maybe it is Angel di Maria's fate, like that of so many other talented Argentina players, that he was born in Lionel Messi's time; that he had to play his whole international career under the shadow of Messi.

Messi no mortal

Lionel Messi worked his magic on the Lusail Iconic Stadium pitch to deliver a third World Cup trophy for Argentina as the Albiceleste emerged victorious following a thrilling penalty shootout on Sunday night.

Desert Fest: Must leave a lasting legacy

As the FIFA World Cup bandwagon winds down on Qatar and moves to North and Central America, it is time to look back at what the 2022 edition -- the first World Cup held in the Middle East -- offered to the world.

Contrasting background but similar passion to win

When defending champions France take on Argentina in the World Cup final tonight, all the focus will certainly be on the likes of Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe. However, two men on the pitch will perhaps play as important a role, if not more, than these two – Hugo Lloris and Emiliano Martinez.

‘Argentina will win WC for their fans in Palestine’

Ihab Abu Alkheir was only eight years old when he, along with his family members in Gaza, Palestine, watched as Diego Maradona wept after losing the final of the 1990 World Cup final against Germany.

A final about more than two standouts

As the four-week long football extravaganza draws to a close in the Qatari capital Doha on Sunday, expectation,

Defier of odds, Croatia and Morocco hope to end on high

Following morale-shattering defeats in their semifinals of the World Cup, Croatia and Morocco have the unenviable job of picking themselves up and getting prepared for the third-place decider on Saturday.

Real lives in ‘artificial’ land

If you happen to come to Qatar from the subcontinent, you could often get confused whether you landed in an Arab land some 3000-4000 kilometres away from home or you were just in another of Bangladesh or India or Pakistan.

Rajab Ali's ordeal

Rajab Ali has been away from home for 22 years. He spent 16 years in Saudi Arabia before coming to neighbouring Qatar six years ago, and he hasn't been home for the past six years.

Onus on Argentina, France to keep the thrill alive

FIFA president Gianni Infantino, on Friday, hailed the Qatar World Cup as the best one ever.

Mbappe with world at his feet

When Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi broke the 100m dollar mark in annual earnings for the first time, both of them were in their 30s. In comparison, Kylian Mbappe broke that threshold at 23 and is about to be anointed as the richest-earning footballer of all time, according to Forbes.

Messi has the whole world believing

Step aside Cristiano Ronaldo, step aside Neymar. Lionel Messi is here, and he is here for business.

‘Standout’ Alvarez complements his idol

There was a poignant moment at the end of Argentina’s victory over Croatia. Julian Alvarez, who scored two goals in the 3-0 victory, went to his team’s dugout and was hugged by Lautaro Martinez, who was almost in tears.

With overwhelming support, Morocco ‘dare to dream bigger’

Ever since the four semifinalists were decided, the streets and buses and metros in Doha have been occupied by fans mostly from Argentina and Morocco, with a large number of fans shuttling to the Qatari capital over the last few days.

Argentina want more of feisty Messi

Lionel Messi wasn’t available at the pre-match press conference for Argentina’s World Cup semifinal against Croatia on Monday. He wasn’t, in fact, expected to be; the PSG talisman hardly ever attends a press conference.

Desert Fest: Two legends on collision course

Neymar departed in tears. The Brazil No 10 cried inconsolably, only to be lifted off the pitch as the pre-tournament favourites were knocked out on penalties by Croatia in the quarterfinals at the Education City Stadium on Friday night.

Giroud exhibiting his mettle

As the world heads into the final week of the Qatar 2022 with only four matches left, including an irrelevant one involving the third-place decider, the focus will be on whether Kylian Mbappe can lead the French to a consecutive World Cup title or whether Lionel Messi can end Argentina’s 36-year wait for a third world title.

Atlas Lions get Arab world and beyond to rally behind them

As the World Cup advances towards its climax, there has been a constant exodus of fans from countries which have already been eliminated.

The tree of dreams

Close to a hundred years after Uruguay hosted the first FIFA World Cup in 1930, the South American nations have united in their bid to bring the Greatest Show on Earth back to its birthplace to mark the centenary edition.

The Messi we never saw before

For large parts of his career, Lionel Messi has painted an image of himself as a calm individual, leaving his boots to do the talking, trying his best to deflect attention. He hardly ever attends press conferences and avoids making controversial remarks. On the pitch, his goal celebrations often remain restrained and his remonstrations with match officials minimal.

World Cup gives life to ancient streets

Souq Wasif is probably one of the most happening places in all of Qatar as it juxtaposes the past with the present and draws thousands of tourists every day for its eateries, artefacts and old buildings. It is a set of alleys lined by centuries-old buildings on both sides, with modern skyscrapers at one end and a river near the other.

Desert Fest: With Ronaldo or without him?

Despite leading Portugal to the quarterfinals of the World Cup for the first time since 2006, Fernando Santos finds himself in a difficult situation with his team up against Morocco tomorrow.

World Cup moulds Qatar into a new form

Qatar has never seen anything like it before and it has been waiting to see it -- the FIFA World Cup -- in flesh for more than a decade. And the tiny oil-rich nation has done its best, despite the criticism, to put on its best face to the world for this global event.

Fitting stage finally set for eternal rivalry

Every four years as the FIFA World Cup comes around, people in Bangladesh and across the entire world cross their fingers for a clash between two of the most loved and decorated countries in world football -- Brazil and Argentina.

Immutable and unignorable: Our passion for football and festivity

Having been a bit lukewarm to the FIFA World Cup thus far for not having my favourite team at this edition in Qatar, I was kind of sucked into the excitement of it all a fair two days after the Greatest Show on Earth began. It was the Argentina versus Saudi Arabia match on Tuesday which once again reminded me of football’s power to get people imbued despite the daily grind.

Take a bow - Women in red and green

What started as an experimental idea less than two decades ago against the backdrop of heavy resistance from sections of a conservative society helped Bangladesh lift the biggest prize in South Asian football since 2003 as Bangladesh clinched the title of the SAFF Women’s Championship,

Aiming for the bullseye 

There are around 50-odd sporting federations in Bangladesh, some of which have already existed for over five decades. Apart from cricket, football, hockey, shooting and chess, most of the federations suffer from a lack of spotlight due to a lack of activities and interest from sponsors. 

Basketball crying for a home

Basketball is one of the most popular sports in the world. Some of the biggest names and highest earners in the sporting world are basketball players. It is an Olympic sport, represented in two disciplines for both men and women.

The changing landscape of match-fixing in football

When former national team striker Saifur Rahman Moni resigned from the job of a Bangladesh Championship League (BCL) outfit two weeks ago, it was probably the first time in the country that a professional football coach had taken such a step in protest of what he believes was match-fixing by its officials and players.

Cabrera finds positives despite missed chances

Bangladesh coach Javier Cabrera declined to blame his players, instead claimed that the team has made good progress and are adopting to his ideas, following a goalless draw against Mongolia in a FIFA friendly at the Sylhet District Stadium yesterday.

Can Cabrera conjure up a convincing act?

As Bangladesh take on Mongolia in a FIFA friendly match at the Sylhet District Stadium today, there will be a lot of focus on whether the team can bounce back from a 2-0 defeat against Maldives last week.

Jamal hoping for an electric atmosphere

Bangladesh captain Jamal Bhuiyan said he is looking forward to playing in front of a full-house crowd at the Sylhet District Stadium and earn a victory against Mongolia on Tuesday.

Bangladesh invokes fond memories for Mongolia captain 

Bangladesh holds a special place in the heart of Mongolian national football team captain Tsend-Ayuush Khurelbaatar, for It was against the men in red and green that the landlocked East Asian nation had earned their first point in international football.

Can Bangabandhu Cup spark a kabaddi revival?

The Shaheed Noor Hossain Volleyball Stadium in Paltan recently staged the Bangabandhu Cup International Kabaddi Tournament for the second time.

The harsh realities for referees

Incident 1: Police vs Bashundhara Kings, Independence Cup semifinal, BSSMKS, Dec 14, 2021.

Could shooting be the guiding light again?

The reason for this premonition is simple: there will be no shooting event in Birmingham, the first time the discipline has been dropped from the roster of the multisport event for the Commonwealth of Nations.

Bashundhara Kings Arena set for historic debut

The Bashundhara Kings Arena is set to become the first privately-owned football ground to host a match of the Bangladesh Premier League, the top-tier professional football of the country.

A new beginning or another year wasted?

As Bangladesh national football team braces for a new beginning under new coach Javier Cabrera with optimism that things will finally take a positive turn after a year of turmoil, experimentation and failure, time is probably right to remind everyone that things can only change as much as they want it to change.

Fed Cup fiasco brings to fore myriad conflicts of interest

The Federation Cup descended into farce on Friday after the defending champions Bashundhara Kings declined to participate, explaining their position to the game’s local governing body 24 hours before the start of the tournament.

‘Competing at top level requires top level training’

Bangladesh’s premier golfer Siddikur Rahman has returned to the country from his five-month stay in the USA with the realisation that playing in the top-level golf competitions requires top level training.

Unprofessional and desperate

Unprofessional and desperate is how football pundits are reacting to Bangladesh Football Federation’s (BFF) decision to replace national team’s head coach Jamie Day with Bashundhara Kings coach Oscar Bruzon for two months.

Time for a tactical shift?

As Bangladesh woke up to the news that they were allowed qualification for the final round of the Asian Cup qualifiers, despite not meeting the previously-thought criteria following a fifth-place finish in Group E on the previous night, the pertinent question that surfaced was what they can do with this luck? Can they turn it into good fortune by stretching their ability to its limit or just accept it as a generous gift from football’s Asian governing body (AFC) and be pleased with it?

March window solved, what about May?

On Friday night, the All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) issued a press release saying it will organise a tri-nation tournament involving Bangladesh, Kyrgyzstan Olympic team and the host country.

February 22, 2021
February 22, 2021

AFC can’t bow down to Afghan pressure

The governing body of Asian football, AFC, on Thursday issued a statement following discussions with its member associations, saying that a majority of the remaining World Cup/Asian Cup qualifying fixtures of Round-2 have been deferred to June in light of existing travel and quarantine restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic across the continent.

January 10, 2021
January 10, 2021

Can Toyota beat Ferrari?

It should be a battle between the experience and riches of Bashundhara Kings against the youthful exuberance of Saif Sporting Club in the final of the Walton Federation Cup as the country’s football begins to see shift of power.

December 12, 2020
December 12, 2020

Legend of paolo Rossi: Permanent yet fleeting

“Paolo Rossi was the one who beat Zico’s Brazil, Maradona’s Argentina, Boniek’s Poland and in the final, the Germany of Rummenigge,” the Gazzetta dello Sport, Italy’s top sports newspaper, wrote in its online column on Thursday following the Tuscan legend’s death at the age of 64.

December 6, 2020
December 6, 2020

With better planning and prep, things can only get better

Following the 5-0 defeat against Qatar in a World Cup qualifying fixture in Doha on Friday night, Bangladesh coach Jamie Day was quick to emphasise that the margin of defeat, despite it being the biggest of his tenure, was not an unexpected one. Instead, the coach wanted to take the positives from the match while looking forward to what comes next.

November 30, 2020
November 30, 2020

Better safe than sorry

Bangladesh’s premier golfer Siddikur Rahman is prepared to forego the riches on offer in the Indian tour and even the lure of a second Olympics participation in order to be safe and secure from the clutches of Covid-19.

November 24, 2020
November 24, 2020

An unyielding spirit

An iconic footballer and sports organiser, Badal Roy lost his battle with cancer and breathed his last in Dhaka on Sunday.

November 17, 2020
November 17, 2020

Get well soon, Jamie Day

When watching Italy take on Poland in a crucial Nations League fixture on Sunday night, it was hard not to draw a few parallels between the four-time world champions and Bangladesh, one of the lowest-ranked footballing nations in the world.

October 5, 2020
October 5, 2020

A fourth false dawn?

In the late hours of Saturday, following an exhausting-yet-satisfying BFF Elective Congress when Kazi Salahuddin, surrounded by his jubilant panel members, announced to media that he “would work together with those from the opposition panel for the love and betterment of football”, one could not help wonder whether he was speaking from a script from 12 years ago or, for that matter, eight or even four years ago.

June 28, 2020
June 28, 2020

Golfers left in the lurch

The Kurmitola Golf Club inside the Dhaka Cantonment should have been abuzz with members, golfers and caddies: playing, practising and spending a lively time golfing and in social activities. Instead, the sumptuous clubhouse and the sprawling course -- the finest in the country -- is deserteded. There is an eerie silence about this place, a silence that reverberates around a dozen or so public and private golf courses around the country.

April 2, 2020
April 2, 2020

Reminiscence: My first match

The first match I watched live from a venue, unless my memory deceives me, was the India v Pakistan cricket match during the 1988 Wills Asia Cup in Dhaka.