Dream Team of Bangladesh Football.Late ’70 & ’80(Part 2)
Every individual is different.Likewise every player, every sports reporter, every football admirer is different.They have different likings and disliking, different ways of analyzing as all have different tastes, attitudes and aptitude. My team is from my way of analysis .It will definitely not be the same as others. It was very heartening that my last write up could initiate some discussions .Dream teams are always a myth. It can be only happening in dreams and not practically be made into reality. Few of the dream team of 1970’s was past their primes by the late 1970’s when the concept of total football came to Bangladesh in line with Johan Cruyff and his magical Netherlands team. The concept of football started changing. The emergence of Abahoni Krira Chakra and Brothers Union started changing the pattern of football. Two quality foreign coaches Irish William Hart and Scottish Sandy set Bangladesh Youth on the right track. Players like Monem Munna, Aslam, Wasim, Tutul,, Shabbir, and Mohsin started rocking and rolling. Bangladesh teams in 1970s challenged teams from Thailand and Malaysia. Sub continental teams other than India were way behind us. Bangladesh could score goals whenever it liked against teams like Maldives. Unfortunately that tide could not be built on and lost its way for absence of organized institutions and politics creeping into soccer. If the trend of Soccer that emerged in late 1970s and most of 1980s could be channelized Bangladesh soccer team by now could be a force to reckon with in Asia .Matters started falling apart from late 1980s. While other teams advanced we gradually slipped into deep hole. The period from 1990s witnessed major slump. Football lost its way. Bangladesh football team became a shadow of its past.Anyway these discussions can be part of more in-depth analysis and discussions.
Let us get back to dream team of late 1970s and 1980.
I played some soccer with some of main players of this generation .I represented BUET in inter university and other meets. I also used to practice with WAPDA team in BUET playground under the Scottish Coach William Sandy. As sports writer I had very friendly relation with most of the players of late 1970s and 1980. Many players were almost of same standard .It is very difficult to choose a best eleven from among them. My selection of players may not the most appropriate. In some positions contemporary players, analysts may have other choice .But let a discussion start. While trying to select a dream team I tried to rewind my memories about the following players. I admit that I may have missed a few .My apologies to them.
Goal Keepers: Moin,Suhash,Mohsin,Lal Mohammad,Pintu,Atik.
Defence: Aminur,Tutul,Munna,Kaisar, Rokib,Joni, Abul,Shapon Das, Baro Badal,Yusuf, Selim, Alok and Manik.
Midfield:Bablu, Mohsin, Ashish, Babul, Badal Roy, Rupu, Rama Luasi.
Forwards:Wasim,Aslam.Shabbir,Chunnu,Salam,Joshi ,Emili ,Elyas,Kohinoor,Anwar,Monu,Rumi.Mosabber .
The goalkeepers mentioned above were all very good .They served their teams and national duties very efficiently .But of them Mohsin and Pintu were a little better of the rest .Moin was a little short in height but had tremendous anticipation and position sense .Pintu was sharp and agile . My selection will keep both with Pintu as main goal keeper and Mohsin a reserve.
My Team would play 4-3-3 formation. So I have to select 4 defenders. Considering the galaxy of quality players in defence listed above selecting four of them is extremely difficult. Tutul and Monem Munna were stand out players in their position .But for the other positions there are a few who were equally good. How can we select one from Selim, Yusuf and Kaisar Hamid? Similarly how one can be selected from Rakib and Joni. My dream team defense would be Tutul, Munna, Yusuf and Jony with Kaisar and Rakib as reserve. Tutul was a gifted footballer .Very strong in defence and used to regularly overlap and participate in attack. I saw him play so well against visiting teams from Thailand and other Dhaka league matches. Monem Munna was perhaps one of the all-time best footballers in Dhaka football. He also played with skills in Kolkata. Yusuf was a cool headed steady performer. Kaisar was equally good but considering the steady performance of Yusuf I have preferred Yusuf above Kaisar. In the left back position Jony and Rakib had very little to choose between. But Jony was more attacking and better tackler.Abul; Shapon Das, Baro Badal, Selim and Manik were good but not great enough to be included in the dream team.
Selection of 3 Midfielders could be a bit easier from the eight considered.Mohsin and Bablu of Brothers Union were stand out performers’.Mohsin was very strong and had bullet like shots .Bablu was like a racing horse. My third mid fielder would be Khurshid Babul. I would like to include Ashish and Badal Roy as reserve in the position.
Selecting three as forwards in 4-3-3 formation from the 13 I considered is a huge task. With deep thought I could bring the list down to seven .But how to choose three from the seven?
Wasim, Shabbir, Aslam, Chunnu, Salam, Joshi and Emily.
If Chunnu could be considered in the team of early 1970s that could make the task a little bit easier. Chunnu started excelling from mid 1970s and occupied his position as winger from Protap and Tipu. I am keeping him out of completion from his later generation. Wasim as right winger or right inside forward was a versatile footballer .He had great football sense, very speedy with the ball and strong anticipation where to be at what time .Shabbir was extremely talented and very intelligent footballer .Aslam and Salam were natural goal getter. I will prefer Aslam in first eleven and Slam as reserve. Of the lot Aslam was had bullet header and I remember one Kolkata Journalist once told me “ Aslam’s head talk. Joshi was very capable left winger but I have to prefer Shabbir above him. Emily was possibly not at his peak around the same time .He matured later.
My team would have Wasim, Aslam and Shabbir in the first eleven with Emily , Salam and Joshi as reserve.Chunnu would then move to my team of early to mid-1970s
Hence the team in 4-3-3 formation would be
Tutul, Munna, Yusuf (Kaisar), Jony (Rokib)
Mohsin, Bablu (Ashish) , Babul ( Badal Roy )
Wasim (Emily) Aslam (Salam ) Shabbir((Joshi)
I will not claim my team is the best selection .I am sure many readers may have better choices. Many will ask how Salam is not in the main team? I know he was natural strikers. Aslam was possibly the best header in Dhaka football after Omar and Salam was consistent scorer. It was very difficult to choose one from the two. But in my consideration Wasim and Shabbir would let chip and cross many for Aslam to head home. Both Aslam and Salam were very affectionate to me. It was very difficult for me not to choose Salam and Joshi in the first eleven. But they will be there as reserves.
Dream teams are only for dreams .The footballers that I have discussed above were great entertainers. Many of them have successful life after football. Few of them are still trying to serve football as organizers or administrators. If most of them could be utilized in football development at grassroots level and age group by BFF it could serve great in regenerating the lost pride of Bangladesh football.