Dave offers assistance
FA Premier League chairman Sir Dave Richards promised assistance for the Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) after having met with the federation's president Kazi Salahuddin at the BFF Bhaban yesterday.
"Your president is a great guy and a great personality who wants to develop something and we can help. Salahuddin has a vision of youth development with academies," said Richards at the press conference.
He hinted at the idea of creating role models in Bangladesh. "The first player I take from Bangladesh to England will be a star in England and he will be a superstar in Bangladesh," said Richards, the former chairman of English club Sheffield Wednesday, an expert on English football.
On how Bangladesh's football can develop, Sir Dave talked about a vision and to run with the vision. He wants to bring Premiership Skills to Bangladesh where English coaches will teach Bangladeshi counterparts how to coach youngsters.
"In England we have a system called 'Premier Skills' where coaches are taught how to coach."
Talking about football academies, Richards was forthright that an academy requires third generation astro-turfs as well as grass pitches. There should also be changing rooms and a computer centre. The kids in the academy will be fed, clothed and educated besides being taught how to play football. And this is not all as it is very important on how the academy is staffed.
Richards was ready to help with the designing, management and tutoring of the coaches but said Bangladesh have to show intent and ask for assistance.
Seven years ago the FA Premier League set up and ran a football academy in Cape Town, South Africa. They provided financial assistance and bought astro-turfs and as a result South African football has developed.
Talking about how the English Premier League became the number one in the world, Richards recalled a time when English teams were average. But they wanted more; they wanted to become more professional.
They promoted the brand Premier League through broadcasting and sponsorship and at the same time started importing players from all over Europe and the world. Nowadays the Premier League develops young players from India, China and the rest of Europe.
Dave responded positively when asked if a club like Manchester United, Liverpool or Arsenal would visit Bangladesh to play exhibition matches with the local teams.
"We only have to be asked to try to get our clubs to play here. We need to get invitation."
Richards was also optimistic about England's chances in this year's World Cup in South Africa.
"We have built an England team that have been together for eight years and can compete with any team in the world."
Richards concluded on a positive note mentioning Salahuddin's target of developing Bangladesh's football to some standard in five years and promised to visit Bangladesh again.
"I will come back," concluded the Premier League boss.