A Danish rivalry
When Bangladesh take on Pakistan in their last SAFF Championship group match today, two former club mates and close friends will be pitted against each other. Jamal Bhuiyan, the Denmark-based Bangladesh midfielder will be vying against his erstwhile club mate Hassan Bashir of Pakistan for the right to earn a place in the last four of the competition.
Despite coming from different backgrounds, the two booters have had similar career paths. Jamal Bhuiyan left his country of birth at the tender age of five for Denmark, where he took football as his profession and met Bashir, who was born and bred there. The two played at the Kloppenburg club in the Danish second division three years ago before parting ways.
“We played in the same club in Denmark three years ago. He is a good player with good skill and strength,” said the Pakistan forward about his former teammate and current opponent.
Both had responded to the call of national duty but were denied on the first occasion.
“I was born and bred in Denmark, but I've always wanted to represent Pakistan at the national level,” said Bashir at the team hotel yesterday.
“I was called for the 2011 SAFF Championship squad but my documents were not in order, so I could not play for the national side”
Jamal's first attempt to get into the Bangladesh team was also in 2011, but then he failed to impress the coach.
Jamal too thinks Bashir is an excellent player, but thinks the friendship will be put aside when the two of them meet on the pitch today.
“I know him well as we have played together and I know he is a good player. But there will be no quarters given tomorrow as we will be in opposing dug-outs,” said Jamal.