"I don't know how I will live without football and it is almost impossible for me to think about anything without football," star footballer Badal Roy often used to say after surviving from a massive brain stroke in 2017.
Since then, Roy had more or less been involved with football as the vice president of Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) and engaged himself in reviving his beloved outfit Mohammedan SC after the Casino scandal last year. That despite the fact that he needed the support of a person to walk following paralysis of the left side of his body.
Roy, who never shrugged off his football entity after calling time in 1989, left from his football world today, just after staying 50 days away from football following the 'much-pressurized' Oct-3 BFF elections, where he lost to another star footballer Kazi Salahuddin.
After losing BFF polls, Roy told to this reporter, "I really feel good because I will now think of the club [Mohammedan SC] and see if we can bring back the glory of the club. Then it will work better for football than what the federation do."
He though wanted to revive the glorious past of the Black and Whites he loved more than his family and once expressed his annoyance over Mohammedan's failings to this reporter following the BFF polls. For Roy, perhaps a life without football was a life of loneliness.
"His problem is that football is deeply rooted in Roy. It is hard for him to stay sound physically without football. To be truth, he can't accept the fact that he is not with the football federation," Badal's wife Madhury Roy told this reporter on November 5 after Roy was admitted at Asgar Ali Hospital following breathing issues.
Madhury that time also said that Roy had also realised that his time to depart arrived after falling sick early this month. Later Roy was diagonised with stage four liver-cancer.
"If something happens to me, please don't take my body to BFF, rather take me to Shaheed Minar of Dhaka University," Madhury quoted Roy as saying.
Madhury's statement was echoed with the sentiment of former national footballer-cum-coach Hasanuzzaman Khan Bablu, who has been a close ally of Badal despite being a senior footballer.
"I had a lot of memories with Badal in last 30 to 35 years and those memories are really hurting me after his departure. Maybe he also made me follow him. He was forced to leave the sports arena and he left us in anger," Hasanuzzaman Khan Bablu said.
"After disclosure of his liver cancer on Nov 15, the doctors told us to be prepared mentally because the cancer spread and affected other organs," said Bablu.
Roy was undoubtedly a dedicated organiser, who was believed to be the man behind the success of Bangladesh national football team in 1999 SA Games in Nepal as he motivated the boys in red and green after flying out from Dhaka to Kathmandu.
In his last three stints from 2008 till 2016, Roy also worked on national team's development and in local game's governing body, raising his voice against irregularities.
"His love towards football was proven and unconditional. He even deprived his family members because of football. He phoned me four to five days before the BFF elections and cried out that he can't bear the pressure. Though he was sick, I believe he could have lasted a bit more had he not participated in BFF polls," said former national player-cum-coach Golam Sarwar Tipu.
Talking about the emergence of former national captain Roy, Tipu said, "I first saw him in 1976 in Chattogram, where we went to play Sher-e-Bangla National Football League for Kumilla. He came to have a trial for Mohammedan SC in 1977 ahead of the Aga Khan Gold Cup and he was picked up."
"Since then, he remained an integral part of Mohammedan. He started on my left-wing position in Mohammedan and struck a hattrick in his Dhaka Premier League debut in 1978 and later played as a striker in Number 10 position," said Tipu. "Badal is so far the only footballer who played for only one club and never left Mohammedan despite having handsome offers from other Dhaka Clubs."
Roy has been a shining example of a dedicated person who perhaps left his unconditional love to football for others to follow it.