The Bangladesh Football Federation's (BFF's) dream of a youth academy turned into reality as 60 budding footballers yesterday were provided lodging at a four-storied building in Beraid, adjacent to the Fortis Sports Club ground which is supposed to be used by academy footballers.
The game's local governing body's promise to form a football academy finally saw the light after a three-and-half-year gap since a FIFA-funded academy in Sylhet was closed after just nine months of activity.
The players -- 32 from the U-15 group and 28 from the U-18 group -- were picked through a month-long talent hunt programme and are expected to start training from today under a local seven-member coaching staff. However, BFF technical and strategic director Paul Smalley feels having foreign coaches at the academy would be best for the players' development.
"It's important to have foreign expertise to complement local expertise. There are some good coaches who have been involved with the BFF for the past two or three years and have been successful in competitions. What we want to do is to make sure we recruit the best youth developers from overseas," said Smalley in a video message.
"Things have got to be of the highest standard. It's a work in progress. There are things that need to be done in the accommodation box and on the surface. But I'm convinced that in future things will be nearly perfect," Smalley said about the Fortis Sports Club's facilities.
Last January, without mentioning any names of those who came forward to provide funding, BFF president Kazi Salahuddin said: "Seven, including me, will give away Tk 25 lakh each and deposit Tk 2.5 crore to initially run the academy and we will sponsor the academy until I manage sponsors."