Current team the finest since 1973: Salahuddin
Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) president Kazi Salahuddin termed the current national squad as the best to have emerged since the 1973 team.
On Sunday, Salahuddin held a reception at the BFF House for the players, who had managed to churn out performances that saw the men in red and green reach the semifinal of the 2023 SAFF Championships.
During the reception, the BFF boss disbursed the promised bonus of Tk 50 lakh, with each player as well as official other than Anisur Rahman Zico, Sheikh Morsalin, and Bishwanath Ghosh receiving Tk 1.5 lakh.
Zico, who was adjudged the best goalkeeper in the tournament, and Morsalin, who netted twice, were awarded Tk 2.5 lakh each.
Defender Bishwanath Ghosh had announced a Tk 5 lakh bonus for his teammates if Bangladesh had managed to reach the final. The 24-year-old received a reward of Tk 5 lakh.
"A few days back, I said that this is the best possible Bangladesh squad but many criticised me. To be honest, this is the best team. After the liberation war, we, despite taking the lead twice, played a 2-2 draw against Malaysia in our first international match, with Enayetur (Rahman Khan) and I scoring one goal apiece. You have been playing for the last four to five years. I am telling you that this squad is the best squad and you proved it," Salahuddin told the players at the reception.
"Though we lost two matches, I am pleased with the performance as you played like a team. You fought. That is the experience you take to the future so that you can cover all of the things.
"Before the SAFF Championship, there was a lot of criticism but I was confident that you would perform well because the coach along with some senior players promised me that they would give their hundred per cent. I told you not to concede defeat before the start of the match and to play for the 90 minutes and you did what you promised," said the BFF boss.
Salahuddin also praised the individual performances that stood out throughout the tournament, particularly the likes of Rakib Hossain, Morsalin, and Zico, who made the marquee event their own to propel Bangladesh to the last four. He then followed it up with lamentation of not being able to add more to the players' bonuses.
"A little envelope is in front of you. It has the bonus I promised. I am really sorry to give you such a small amount. I could have given you more had I had more money but it is a token money for you to have tea and coffee though you deserved more," said Salahuddin.
Tk 50 lakh was disbursed amongst the players from the BFF fund and Salahuddin provided the extra Tk seven lakh paid to the three players.