Afzalur Rahman Sinha was one of the few survivors of a select group of organisers who served the country's sport without giving a slightest thought to personal benefits. The 68-year-old sports patron breathed his last at a hospital in Chennai on Wednesday. He held important posts at different sports bodies. He was the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) governing council chairman and a director of the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB). He was also a key director of Abahani, one of the two most popular clubs in the country. He served the club as its hockey committee chairman. He was the president of the posh Dhaka Club. Sinha also held key posts in many sport bodies at a time when selfless patrons were needed for them to survive and then thrive.
But it was not all the portfolios he held that separated him from others. Sinha has never been a person looking for posts. When it came to supporting a club, an organiser or a player in need of financial support, his door was always ajar. The country has so many affluent persons, but Sinha was one of those who spent money for sport with an open heart. He was one of those individuals who never allowed his business interests to clash with sport.
Over the past two and a half decades he has never been embroiled in any controversial episode save the first two editions of the BPL, which was tainted by a fixing storm and non-payment of the players. Under his loving but firm guidance, the BPL emerged from its dark phase and has become the most attractive and lucrative domestic event. Modesty was Sinha's biggest attribute and those who have known him closely have hardly heard him raise his voice. He always tried to keep a low profile. For the final time too, he left the arena he loved most silently. Over the last 24 hours the sports fraternity has been trying to come to terms with the shock demise of someone whose contribution to this field cannot be expressed in mere words.
Sinha also served as president of the Surjo Tarun Club for 10 years -- a role he took great pleasure in. One of the grassroots cricket organisers, Golam Faruk Fatik, the cricket manager of Surjo Tarun, summed it up quite aptly.
“Sinha Bhai has selflessly served sport. He was here to give, not to take, which is now a trend.”
The body of the beloved Sinha bhai was scheduled to be brought to the BCB headquarters in Mirpur at 9:00am today to pay our last respects, but due to the flight being rescheduled it has been rearranged at 5.30pm. Whenever Sinha Bhai's mortal remains arrive, it will be time not to take, but to give him a heartfelt and tearful farewell.