The Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) yesterday backtracked from its decision to naturalise three African players in a bid to strengthening the national team after facing heavy criticism from different quarters.
The game's governing body was supposed to place the applications of the three players – Samad Yussif, Nkwocha Kingsley Chigozie and Ismail Bangoura – to the home ministry yesterday, but opted out of the controversial move at the eleventh hour.
“I thought we need to do more research if we have to avail this opportunity. Besides, the matter was not even placed before the BFF executive committee,” said BFF president Kazi Salahuddin over phone to confirm the decision.
BFF general secretary Abu Nayeem Shohag said they backtracked from the decision after analysing the negative sentiment against this move.
“There has been a lot of positive and negative discussion, analysis, review regarding the naturalisation of three players. We thought that if it is better not to do it, then we will not do it,” said Shohag.
The BFF had taken the initiative in recommendation of head coach Lodewijk de Kruif and without the approval of the executive committee. The issue was supposed to be placed before the committee in the next meeting.
Meanwhile, BFF's decision to backtrack has been welcomed by many in the footballing fraternity. Shafiqul Islam Manik, a former national footballer turned coach, said that BFF has made the right choice finally.
“Even though the decision came at the eleventh hour, I the BFF and its president must be thanked for this move. If this naturalisation process had materialised, I don't think it would have had much of a positive impact on results, but it would have definitely set a wrong precedent, which might have been followed in other sectors as well.
“What the BFF needs to do now is to start groom players from the grassroots level. It may take a few years to see the results, but over the course of time, we will have enough quality players in all positions,” opined Manik.