Participating in Indian regional football league for Bangladeshi top footballers, especially in Kolkata, had once been a periodic and prestigious affair but unfortunately the scenario turned into a rarity, over the years.
However, Bangladesh national captain Jamal Bhuiyan has recently somewhat broken that jinx to play for Kolkata Mohammedan in I-League, one of two co-existing premier football leagues in Indian football system, before returning back to his local outfit Saif Sporting Club (SC) in order to resume playing in the second phase of Bangladesh Premier League, and that too, in a single season.
"It is really a new experience to play in two different leagues in a single season. I had to work really hard in India to adjust and subsequently gel with an unknown set of players. Currently, I have been with Saif SC under the new coach and so I am excitedly looking forward to work with the gaffer and some of the new players as well," playmaker Jamal Bhuiyan told The Daily Star.
The star-midfielder also shared his observations regarding the current differences of infrastructure with respect to our neighborhood nation on having seen the both sides already and as well previously, having played for the Danish outfit Brøndby IF, at the age of fifteen.
"I will tell you that India is playing a comparatively a high-tempo brand of football than us, and they apparently have a wide range of facilities at their disposal. During the brief stint in India, I also played at different stadiums and observed those venues possessing an applaudable state of ground surface quality, but in Bangladesh, we all happen to play in a single stadium (Bangabandhu National Stadium) where the pitch standard could be a lot better," said Jamal, who started playing this season for Federation Cup runners-up Saif SC against Mohammedan SC, that ended in a 1-2 losing note for his side." A
"Also, I had expectation that Saif would be able secure a place among the top three positions in the league table but it did not happen yet, and though there are still 10 matches left after the first leg, to improve on standings. Although so far, I have only played one match for Saif SC, the team which apparently has a major issue of not scoring the goals despite generating a high frequency of scoring opportunities," said Jamal, the skipper of Saif SC, hoping that they still have the possibility of ending up among the top three though runaway league leaders Bashundhara Kings are most likely on their way to a successive league title. Jamal said that they have been facing tremendous challenges of the ongoing pandemic while trying to maintain adequate fitness and overall physical and mental health and expressed his concerns regarding the situation:" Having already had suffered from Covid-19, I can tell that it is an extremely challenging task for the players to be in a satisfactory shape. These days, obviously, I don't go outside of home except for the training sessions and for playing on match days. Previously, where I was accustomed to taking photos with the fans but I am avoiding it this time around as I'm really afraid of being infected with Covid-19 again!"