'I won't give up on a ticket'
World Cup ticket sales got off to a violent, chaotic and frustratingly slow start yesterday after most of the ticket outlets saw endlessly long lines due to the slow process.
The sale will continue today but given the demand, it will be hard for the majority to get hold of the elusive piece of paper. Many though are not prepared to give up hope.
Among those who braved the cold and the chilly winds since last night, some like Sajjad Hossain were lucky enough.
A second year honours student of Northern University, the young man had excitement and relief written all over his face after he became the first person to buy the World Cup tickets from City Bank's Dhanmondi branch where he had stood since the afternoon of December 31.
“I am very, very happy. It was very difficult but we have been queuing up since December 31. We were a large group and we always watch Bangladesh's matches here,” said a beaming Sajjadul moments after he received his voucher, against which he will collect the tickets from the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium early next month.
“I have been surviving on tea and biscuits basically. The police and the bank officials were quite helpful, especially when some outsiders tried to push us out,” he added, confirming that he's a member of the Bangladesh cricket team's supporters group 'Doura, Bagh Ailo' (Run, the Tigers are coming).
“Our family members came to encourage us. We didn't move a bit from the queue, it was some experience.”
Sajjad got a huge ovation when he stormed out of the building with the voucher in hand, but across the country, such scenes were few and far between.
The initial problem is the huge number of people queuing up with groups of troublemakers hampering the order. At the Dhanmondi Road 2 branch of City Bank, two people including Kaler Kantha photographer Mir Farid was injured when the police tried to push away a large group who tried to break the queue and surround the entrance.
Police had earlier gone for similar action in front of the Mirpur branch of the same bank as well as in Bangabandhu Avenue.
A few cars and a bus were damaged in the Mipur-1 area after rumours were spread among the people who had lined up. During the ensuing baton charge of the police, Daily Sun's sports reporter Minhaz Uddin Khan was hurt.
But once order was restored, the slow system, especially the internet servers, was the most annoying part. Even in the most disciplined of outlets, it took one group (5-6 people) more than half an hour on an average to receive the voucher.
“The system is very slow. And once the servers show up dead, we cannot get our desired tickets.
“I got a ticket of the eastern gallery but the person who came after me, he couldn't because the server was blocked. People have been standing here for such a long time but they are still hanging around without a ticket,” said Asheque Hossain, a private university student.
The delay continued till late in the evening, ensuring a lot of people still remained outside the branches for another try tomorrow. “I will keep on trying. I know that getting a ticket today [Sunday] is almost impossible but I can't go back without one,” said Rubel Ali, outside the Karwan Bazar branch, one of the few relatively calm ticket booths.
Our Rajshahi correspondent adds that people from Dhaka, Dinajpur and other nearby districts also showed up in Rajshahi for tickets.
Moniruzzaman, a Mirpur resident, took a bus northwards after he saw more than 3,000 people in front of him. “I stood at the queue at around 1:00pm on Saturday and saw there were 3,000 people infront of me. So I decided to go to Rajshahi. Here I only saw 300 people in the line,” he said.
Our Barisal correspondent reports that heavy rush for the World Cup tickets at local City Bank branch hampered regular banking and traffic, but the rush was still nothing like Dhaka for the ticket buyers.