Dream Teams of Bangladesh Football(Part-1)
…প্রকৌশলী খন্দকার সালেক সুফি একটা সময় নানা পত্র পত্রিকায় ও ক্রীড়াজগত ম্যাগাজিনে নিয়মিত লেখালিখি করতেন…ক্রিকেট লীগও খেলেছেন মোহামেডানের হয়ে…লেখালিখির কারনে ফুটবল খেলা দেখা হত তার প্রতিদিনই…দীর্ঘদিন অস্ট্রেলিয়ায় প্রবাস জীবন যাপন করলেও ব্যাস্থতার মাঝেও লেখালিখি থেমে থাকেনি তার…স্মৃতির মেমোরি থেকে অনেক ভেবে চিন্তেই লিখলেন
Dream Teams of Bangladesh Football.
…এখানে তুলে ধরলেন তার দৃষ্টিতে ১৯৭০ দশকের সেরা একাদশ…পরবর্তিতে ৮০ ও ৯০ দশকের সেরা দল নিয়ে লিখবেন…
We know those golden old days of Bangladesh football is way past .Yet sometime when we think about those days so many sweet memories flash back upon that these makes us nostalgic. In 1960s of our teenage we sued to fascinate watching very high quality football matches at Dhaka stadium where alongside many players skilled from Makran like Omar, Musa, Abid, Kala Gafoor, Torab Ali, Ali Newaz along with many talented players from East Paksiatn used to entertain Dhaka crowd. The names of Shantu, Pintu, Hafiz, Tipu, Protap and even Salahuddin, Enayet, Nanno just started emerging .Dhaka was the center of all Paksiatn football. In the afternoon of the football season Dhaka Stadium area used to hum with football frenzy thousands of people .Watching football in the gallery was a great fun.
Bangladeshi footballers organized Shadhin Bangla Football team during those difficult days of 1971 .The football front of liberation war .Zakaria Pinto and Protap Hazra spearheaded Bangladesh team in exile is credited as the first initiative to raise the flag of Bangladesh ceremoniously on foreign soil in a football match at Nodia West Bengal .The team like other fronts admirably created strong public opinion. This not being an attempt to write history of Bangladesh football will not discuss much about it here. The Shadin Bangla Football team richly deserves highest sporting recognition.
We saw a very little of Ashraf –Kabir –Mari and their generation .We know Nabi Choudhury , Gajnabi , Arzoo ,Shah Alam ,Debinash ,Bolai .Mintoo ,Ranjit Das were great footballers at their time . In future when I can do a little bit more research I can prepare a dream team of 1950s and 1960s. But for me from abroad it will not be appropriate to deal with this as I may fail to include names of genuine players.
But we saw the emergence and maturing of the football generation of late 1960s, 1970s , 1980s and so on .For some of our BUET mates Maung , Khaled ,Jamil , Bulbul Dhaka Stadium was our places of pilgrimage . We spent almost every afternoon around the stadium watching different games and in the evening spent time in Dainik Bangla sports desk of Quamruzzaman Bhai. Later when Krirajagat was created Sports world /Kirajagat was our meeting place. We cannot forget our adda in Krirajagat and puri-tea entertainment of Mallick Bhai and Salma Apa . We miss our Sports Gossip at KriraJagat and many friends (be afraid of missing some names will not talk about anyone in particular).
Last night before going to sleep suddenly football memories flashed back .I was thinking of deep association with many footballers like Pintu Bhai , Protap dada , Tipu Bhai , Enayet , Aslam , Salam and others . I was thinking about a dream team of Bangladesh football post liberation .But somehow or other could not come down to one team .After lots of thought decided to try forming two teams – one of 19070s and early 1980s and the other of mid to late 1980s and 1990s .Believe me in my dreams I saw discussing and debating the matter with my friends Maung, Khaled and Bulbul. When I got up at my early Melbourne morning found Nazmul Amin Kiron on Facebook .Discussed with him the idea and he immediately suggested me for writing.
As a freelance sports writer and ex General Secretary Bangladesh Sports Writers Association I had easy access to sports personalities of all games Football, Cricket, Hockey, Athletics over 1970s and most part of 1980s. I even played cricket and football with many of them .In fact as General Secretary BKLS very often I used to organize friendly football matches of Golden Past Generation of footballers with foreign embassies and other teams. Hafiz Bhai, Tipu Bhai, Protap Da played in those teams. We saw the emergence and shot into prominence of Abahoni Krira Chakra and Brothers Union and Gradual demise of Office Teams BJMC (Former EPIDC) ,WAPDA , PWD and traditional teams like Wanderers , Victoria ,Wari ,Azad Sporting. We are living evidence of so many historic events that we can write unending series of Bangladesh Football. Sadly enough these days football fails to attract capacity crowd but there was a time when a major football match could create Eid Like festival in Dhaka and rest of the country.
Let us now try to form two best teams – one of 1970s and another of 1980s and beyond. I know this is merely academic exercise .But still it can create some interests, some gossips. Though I know it is not fair to compare players of two different ages and times as playing environment, skills, and strategy and pattern changes so much that a player best suited in one condition may not fit well in a different condition. In this age of professionalism, total football the concepts have changed , strategies have revolutionized .Football is little art these days , more of science, more of mathematics.
Team of 1970s.
In 1970s and early 1980s the formation was mostly 3-2-5 .The teams used to appear with 5 front liners. A defenders job was mostly defending their area against opponent attack .Wing backs would hardly overlap and participate in attacks of their teams. The tasks of the half backs were coordinating and communicating between attacks and defense. The wingers used to run down the line and let fly crosses and chips aiming at the forwards to strike at the goals. Sometimes the wingers used to cut in and drive home from distance. Some wingers used to hit lethal corner kicks which often would swerve into the goal.
My team of 1970s would be ( 3-2-5 Formation )
Goal Keeper: Shahidur Rahman Shantu,
Full Backs: Manjoo , Pintu and Nazir Junior
Half Backs: Nanno and Amalesh
Front Line:Protap, Enayet, Salahuddin, Hafiz, Tipu
I thought of Nuurun Nabi, Motaleb as goal keeper but for sheer quality of anticipation and reflex actions considered Shantu as the best. Manjoo was undoubtedly the one of the best attacking right backs Bangladesh has ever witnessed .He was strong and athletic and was also impregnable in defence. Zakaria Pintoo and Nazir Junior in my opinion were the bests in their positions although they were mostly same time of players in the same position .Selim or Brorthers union and Yusuf were also dependable defenders. I was tempted to include Jahangir Shah Badsha, Rakib or Hakim in the left back position .Badsha also used to over lap. His long throws also used to create opportunities for his teams. Hakim was a steady performer.Rokib was a good tackler.
Nanno in my opinion can be rated among the all-time best as midfielder. Cool headed Nanno was like a flowing waterfall .He used to be dynamo of attack. He could win tackles, engineer moves, creating opportunities for the forwards with defense splitting passes. He had a talking head as well. Amalesh Sen was a creator and used to have unending stamina .Strong player. I thought of hard working Kaikobad also. But the two I recommended were better than him in many counts.
Those who have seen Protap and Tipu operate in tow flanks will not disagree with me that they were the two best wingers seen at Dhaka Football. They had tremendous ball control, could dribble past thickest of defense, could let fly tantalizing crosses and chips and even blast home tremendous vollies .They could interchange positions among them within the wink of an eye to shake off their markers .We thought off Salimullah in place of Protap and Chunnu and Gazi in place of Tipu . But records will say Protap and Tipu were better. Chunnu can be considered with the later generation.
We hope no one will argue about Enayet, Salahuddin and Hafiz as the forwards. Enayet was a complete footballer for his strength, had tremendous stamina and excellent skills. He could dribble past the thickest of defense Salahuddin was a touch footballer and natural striker. He had excellent football sense; amazing scoring skills .Hafiz was a goal getter .He had tremendous speed with the ball and thunderous left footer.Comination of these three could break any impregnable defense though they rarely played together in the same team. I am sure the readers have their own views and favorites .But I am confident my team could entertain all if these could be put together against any opposition of their time.
Of the above I know Nanno has expired .Manjoo, Enayet and Shantu as per my knowledge are in USA .Hafiz was Minister in BNP Government and is still active in politics Salahuddin is President BFF. We hear about Pintoo, Protap and Tipu off and on though they are no longer active in football arena. Rest of them must be still around sports arena. I thought of Shamsu .scooter Gafoor, Gazi, as forwards. But perhaps they were not of the quality I selected.
I know it is now impossible to assemble the team .But imagine if the time clock could be re-winded back to their youth and they could reappear how they would have performed .Each of them were crowd pullers .I have seen them all from very close .Most of them I was very intimate with. They used to play football for their love of the game , for their passions which is often not seen these days.
(Team of 1980s and Early 1900s Would Be in Next Part.)