Nihar Ranjan, one of two commentators flown in from India by the official broadcasters Channel 9, revealed something interesting during a casual chat. The footballer-turned-commentator claimed he coaches a team of the West Bengal prisoners, where a Bangladeshi boy named Robin is the main goalkeeper. However, his prediction about the opening match was emphatic. "I have watched Malaysia's training yesterday [Wednesday], they are nothing special. Bangladesh will win by at least three goals, you will see," hoped the microphone-man from across the border.
Mila the show-stopper
A brief cultural show preceded the kick-off, the highlight of which was singer Mila Islam. The pop artist raced towards the galleries as the spectators joined in the chorus to her popular songs. There was also a song performed by Sylhet's own Shuvra Dev and two tribal dance performances.
The Uninspired Pigeons
Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, officially inaugurated the 11-day event, releasing balloons and a kit of pigeons. But the pigeons were in no mood to fly. Let loose from a small basket and perhaps severely underfed, the pigeons limped in front of the guests. One of them even landed on the head of a photographer, much to the embarrassment of the organisers. The uninspired performance of the pigeons later rubbed off on the Bangladesh team too.