985Published on June 15, 2021
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was a sports lover from his childhood. After the independence of the country, he took a timely plan for the development of the stadium. In 1972, he formed the Bangladesh Cricket Control Board, now known as the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB). Not only that, in the same year (1972), he established the Bangladesh Sports Control Organization for the coordination and smooth management of sports. It is now known as the Bangladesh Krira Shikkha Pratishthan (BKSP), which is run by the Government of Bangladesh and is a sports regulatory body under the Ministry of Youth and Sports. This organization now controls about 45 separate sports organizations under the auspices of the Government of Bangladesh. Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) is one of them. BFF, the highest football body in the country, was established in 1972. After independence, he formed the Ministry of Sports and Youth, realizing the need for the overall development of the stadiums. As they played a significant role during the war of liberation, he arranged jobs for the members of the Swadhin Bangla Football Team and took their responsibilities.
He passed the 'Bangladesh Sports Council Act' for giving the highest status to footballers. On 6 August 1975, he approved a proposal called 'Bangabandhu Krira Sebi Kalyan Parishad' in the interest of providing support to the players and their families; but after he was brutally killed along with his family, its implementation stopped. However, almost four decades later, his daughter Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina passed the 'Bangabandhu Sports Welfare Council Act 2011' in 2011, and the provisions of that Act are now being applied in various ways.
He had a special weakness for football. Besides, playing football, he has left his mark in volleyball and hockey.
Bangabandhu played for the famous and the then most successful club of East Pakistan Dhaka League ‘Dhaka Wonderers'. He joined the club in 1941 as a striker after participating in various tournaments for the district team.
He played regularly in the second division for the next two years and also captained the team. Under his leadership, the club also won a tournament in Bagura and he had scored a pair of goals in the final of the tournament.
The first football match of independent Bangladesh was held in February 1972 at now Bangabandhu National Stadium. The match was organized by the then star footballers of the country played between Bangladesh XI and President XI. In May 1972, Mohun Bagan, one of the best teams in Indian football, came to play in Dhaka. Although they beat Dhaka Mohammedan in the first match, the visitors won the next match.
Bangabandhu himself was present on the field. He encouraged the players before the match, which improved their morale. Dhaka Mohammedan left the field with a 1-0 victory in that match. Kazi Salauddin scored the historic winning goal.
Bangabandhu also invited other international clubs to introduce the country's football. The following year (1973), he brought the Minsk Dynamo club of Russia to Dhaka to play a friendly match.
He expressed his special love for the players at different times. In 1975, the Bangladesh football team went to Malaysia to play in the Merdeka football tournament. Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman called the players to Ganobhaban. He also took pictures with the footballers before leaving.
Not only Bangabandhu but other members of his family were also very enthusiastic about sports. Sheikh Kamal and Sheikh Jamal have also contributed to the development of the country's sports arena. Sheikh Kamal, the eldest son of Bangabandhu and a heroic freedom fighter, is said to be the pioneer of modern sports in independent Bangladesh. The sports of Bangladesh are moving forward with the blessings of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, daughter of Bangabandhu.