A big part of watching these world cup games, for me, is the part where the players line up to sing their national anthems. I'm just another spectator sitting thousands of miles away and the sheer occasion of another person representing their nation in the world's biggest stage, singing an anthem they've sung their whole lives, gives me the chills. Imagine what it's like for those players.
Imagining this brings me to something I've managed to identify as one of my wildest fantasies. Imagine turning on your TV to watch a FIFA World Cup match, and when the football superstars of the Seleção are done singing their anthem, the camera pans across the referee and the linesmen to focus onto the face of a player clad in the green and red of Bangladesh. Amar Shonar Bangla is played on the speakers but it's drowned out by the spectators on the stands whose collective voice shakes the ground. And you, sitting in your living room watching the game can only shed tears because for many of us who've grown up watching football and idolising footballers, this probably is your wildest fantasy as well.
I know I've gotten carried away, and then some, but there's little I wouldn't give to make this fantasy real. It really is an unrealistic prospect to ponder given the current state of our local football, but let's just hope that a couple of decades later, this wild fantasy can be called a distant possibility.
– Azmin Azran, Resident Day-dreamer, SHOUT