Plaantik’s ode to the football culture of Bangladesh
As Bangladesh adorns itself in the colours of footballing nations from around the globe, we are once again reminded of the love for football throughout the country. Despite ranking 192nd in the world, the undying passion of football followers in Bangladesh stands as a testament to our eternal love for the sport.
To celebrate the football culture of Bangladesh, Plaantik has launched its sports anthology titled Plaantik: An Anthology of Bangladesh's Football Culture. The collection of true football stories aims to provide a gateway to understanding Bangladesh's football culture.
The anthology features an eclectic group of authors who all share their personal stories related to football. The authors include professional footballers, journalists, and fans offering multi-dimensional yet highly personalised perspectives.
The idea of the book was conceived back in 2015, drawing inspiration from Arsenal Football Club's So Paddy Got Up: An Arsenal Anthology. Plaantik Co-Founder Tawsif Akkas explained, "We always thought that we need a similar anthology on Bangladesh, where we can talk about the passionate football culture we have here. But we never got to work on it. With the FIFA World Cup 2022 here, this felt like the perfect time to put the book out there."
From Bangladesh national football team captains Jamal Bhuyan and Sabina Khatun, and Leicester City's British Bangladeshi footballer Hamza Choudhury to the more upcoming Bangladeshi footballers Rahbar Khan and Matsushima Sumaya, the book tells first-hand stories of their footballing journeys and the obstacles they have had to overcome along the way.
"I was surprised by how passionate they were in getting a platform to share their stories in such detail," said Plaantik Co-Founder, Abir Ahmed Chowdhury.
The anthology also contains in-depth stories by prominent British Bangladeshis Anwar Uddin MBE and Reshmin Chowdhury alongside other notable Bangladeshis working internationally. These first-hand accounts provide unique behind-the-scenes perspectives to the uninitiated in understanding what it takes to become a professional and, in the process, humanise the people working in the football industry.
Plaantik's anthology also incorporates narratives by fans, including well-known names across various industries like Nemesis frontman Zohad Reza Chowdhury and 10 Minute School CEO Ayman Sadiq. Unlike the narratives by professional footballers, the fan sections offer a more bird's eye view to help understand the emotions running through passionate followers, elucidating individual journeys towards football fandoms.
All the articles combined provide a thorough run-down of both the history of football fanaticism in Bangladesh and the current trends observed.
Being personally involved in the project and having written for the book, I found the project immensely insightful and exhilarating as an ardent football fan. It provided a platform for fans like me alongside professionals to connect with a larger audience who share the same passion and enabled us to tell the story of Bangladesh's football to the world.
"The biggest challenge for the book was getting a diverse enough group of people while ensuring they have enough time to properly tell their stories. NDE Sports Facility and social football club Footy Hags provided us with the support to ensure that we can get the book out on time. We hope that these extraordinary stories will reach different communities and resonate with not just Bangladeshi football fans, but a global audience," reflected Tawsif.