Today is the last day of this year. The NEW YEAR is knocking at the door while the OLD YEAR is getting ready for a 'bon voyage'. "Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering, 'It will be happier.' - said Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Poet Laureate of Great Britain and Ireland of Victorian period. Before saying a welcome to the New Year, the local football fans might want to take a look at the picks of the passing year!
Junior booters spark throughout the year
While the senior teams were off in the international arena, it was indeed a year for the junior booters who sparked with better skills and talents in all the matches in every venues they played over the year. Especially the junior girl booters really made the fans happy with their remarkable results.
Senior Man Booters Ashamed the Nation with Worst Rankings The men began the year placing 190th out of the 205 active member teams of the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and finished the year placing 197th rank which is the worst in the history.
FIFA president congratulated Dhaka Abahani On January 10, FIFA President Gianni Infantino congratulated Dhaka Abahani, the traditional sky-blue brigade, for being the first unbeaten champions of the Bangladesh Premier League in an official letter to the BFF president.
Strength & Conditioning and Goalkeeping Coach for a few months On January 14, Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) appointed English man, John Whittle as the new Strength and Conditioning Coach for two months and Ryan David Sandford as goalkeeping coach for three months. John became the second English man who served the federation while another English man Paul Smalley was appointed as the Technical and Strategic Director of the Federation in 2016.
BFF President claims of more professional approach On January 29, Bangladesh Football Federation President Kazi Salahuddin, during his briefing about BFF's total plans till 2020, claimed that they had incorporated more professional approach to every aspect of the game.
Two newbie teams secured BPL Newbie team Basundhara Kings became champions of Bangladesh Championship League 2016-17 while another newbie NoFeL (Noakhali, Feni and Laxmipur) became runners-up and secured their spots in the next edition of Bangladesh Premier League (BPL). The league committee succeeded to hold the BCL quickly this year. In BCL 2015-16 event, concluded at the beginning of the year, Fakirerpool Youngman's Club became the champions while Saif Sporting Club became the Runners-up of the event. Interestingly, the champions decided to stay at the BCL for the next year too while Saif boys moved to play the top football league Bangladesh Premier League in this season. More interesting matter was that the Federation failed, or better say 'abstained from', to take any action against the unprofessional stance of the BCL champions.
Badal Roy criticised federation's negligence for grassroots On February 4, BFF Vice-president Badal Roy spoke out about the federation's negligence regarding the grassroots development in an award giving ceremony arranged by the Bangladesh Football Supporters' Forum (BFSF). The national sports awardee said, "All the people of the country realised the importance of the grassroots development of football but our federation do not realised the simple fact." He said that all the football playing world try to put their maximum money for development while our federation spend most of the money for arranging B League event and for national team. Yet he and Salahuddin participated in the last BFF General Election from the same panel, Badal criticised that BFF boss and he have disagreement over some policy making.
Supporters' Forum awards best players, coaches and referees In February, country's largest football fan-based group Bangladesh Football Supporters' Forum (BFSF) awarded the best players, coaches, referees and supporter of the lately finished JB Bangladesh Primer League 2015-16.
BFF's way of thanking Moni Begum On February 8, the federation became talk of the arena at the incident of sacking its Head of Delegation Moni Begum who became sick and admitted to the hospital after a dispute with a federation official. Moni had served the federation with respect for last ten years who formerly worked as the personal secretary to the President of the Federation. After the federation decided to sack her, she demanded her wages according to the policy of her appointment and met BFF General Secretary. During an argument with the BFF official, she became unconscious and after the situation became bad she had to be hospitalised.
Junior girls' achievement in J Green Sakai U-15 girls' festival The junior girls did well in Japan playing seven matches, including one friendly. They won three matches with one draw and two losses. These girls in red and green jerseys had celebrated a flying start of their Japan mission winning over Academy Sakai girls of Japan by 2-1 margin before the main event.
Pioneer Football League Beginning on March 15, the player registration of Dhaka North and South City Corporations Pioneer (Under-16) Football League 2017 concluded on March 29. Later the game began on May 4 at the Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka.
BKSP Champions of U-18 Boys' National Football On May 4, Bangladesh Krira Shikkha Protisthan (BKSP) lifted the trophy of the Walton Under-18 National Football Championship 2017 beating Dhaka District by 4-2 in the tie-breaker after the regular match saw a 1-1 tie. It was very unfortunate for the Dhaka boys since they took the lead yet failed to maintain it till the end.
Boys third in SAFF Under-15 Championship Bangladesh junior boys dumped Bhutan counterpart by a big 8-0 margin to secure the third place of the SAFF Under-15 Championship at the Halchowk Stadium in Nepalese capital city Kathmandu. India defeated host Nepal by 2-1 margin to clinch its second title of the junior event at the All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) Complex, Satdobato in Lalitpur.
Bangladesh Runners-up of SAFF U-18 Boys' Championship In September, Bangladesh national under-18 football team finished runner-up of the SAFF Under-18 Boys' Championship while Nepal boys became the champions of the event following a 2-0 win over neighbour India. Dhaka Abahani clinch title of Federation Cup This year, Federation Cup rolled on May 13 and the opening match of the new season curtain riser saw a draw as the defending champion Dhaka Abahani and newbie challenger Saif Sporting Club played a 1-1 tie. Dhaka Abahani became the champion of the Federation Cup Football for tenth times beating its port city rival Chittagong Abahani by 3-1 margin in the final.
Mohammedan, Sk Russel in line to face punishment of FIFA Two clubs of the professional league Dhaka Mohammed and Sheikh Russel Krira Chakra are in the line to face punishment from the earth football governing body FIFA for failing to pay their former coaches fee timely. FIFA has already asked the Federation to cut three points of the two clubs in the league. BFF was also warned by FIFA of any failure to punish these clubs.
Ctg Abahani fined Mamunul Port city club Chittagong Abahani fined midfielder Mamunul Islam Taka five lakh recently on disciplinary ground. The decision was taken after the midfielder failed to satisfy with a good reason regarding his return to the team hotel at midnight before the final match of Federation Cup.
Coach Maruful fined In August, Arambagh Krira Sangha head coach Maruful Haque was fined Tk 50,000 by the BFF Disciplinary Committee for breaching disciplinary issues. The committee found the UEFA A licensed coach guilty over getting involved in an argument with the supporters during a match against Rahmatganj Muslim Friends Society on July 31.
Syed Golam Jilani suspended for six-month In September, country's age-based football team coach Syed Golam Jilani was given a six-month of suspension for violating code of conduct of BFF. Jilani was the head coach of the Under-16 boys' football team in 2015 which became the champion of the SAFF U-16 Championship beating India in the final at the Sylhet District Stadium.
Failure in AFC Cup Football As the defending champions of BPL, Dhaka Abahani took part in the AFC Cup this year yet finished the Asian football event staying at the bottom of the table. Last year's finalists JSW Bengaluru FC topped the Group-E and became the South Asian Zonal Champions. In the event, both Dhaka Abahani and Mohun Bagan were confirmed of an early elimination from the group stage and were hoping to say a goodbye not losing the last group match. Surely their wish came true following a 1-1 draw in their last match.
Women booters accorded several receptions for success Bangladesh woman national football team, who became runners-up of the SAFF Women's Championship in 2016, were accorded a warm reception by Envoy group, Walton and others. Playing their first final of the event so far, the women lose the battle to defending champions and host India by 3-1 margin on January 4 at the Kanchenjunga Stadium, Siliguri in India.
Foreign player quota reduced The federation was praised for its decision to reduce the number of foreign players in BPL. Following a decision of the Executive Committee the Federation, each club of BPL were allowed to register three foreign players and were permitted to play two in a match. Before that, a club could register five players and play three in a match.
Dhaka Abahani's dispute with five booters Dhaka Abahani and five booters, Jewel Rana, Topu Barman, Hemonta Vincent Biswas, Shakil Ahmed and Ariful Islam had a dispute over to which team belong these five players for the new season. The tradition sky-blues became the champions of Bangladesh Premier League last year and the five-booter played important role for the result. But, they refused to join the club again as they were actually planning to joint Saif Sporting Club, a new club of Bangladesh Premier League. After that the club not only noticed them 'show cause' but also suspended them for one year. Thus, the players were in trouble about player transfer and registration for new team. Later BFF Player Status Committee decided that these players were not Abahani's player and set them free of charge.
Bangladesh getting three mini pitches from FIFA The President of Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa who was on a two-day tour in Dhaka said in a press meet on October 30 that Bangladesh was going to get three mini pitches from earth's football governing body FIFA.
Group life and health insurance coverage for junior girls and officials The booters and officials of Bangladesh national under-16 girls' football team got a group life and health insurance coverage till 2020 as per an agreement signed between Bangladesh Football Federation and an insurance company.
Striker Wahed retires so early In May, the announcement of 23-year booter Wahed Ahmed's retirement came out of the blue to his fans at home and abroad. The former Mohammedan striker announced his retirement on his Facebook timeline which became talk of the sporting arena in no time.
Andrew Ord new head coach In June, Andrew Ord, 37-year old Australian was appointed as the head coach of Bangladesh national football team in June who finished his first assignment in here as the coach of Under-23 booter.
Non-residential camp for U-18 boys A non-residential camp for the Under-18 booters had taken place in June at the Bir Shrestha Shaheed Sepoy Mustafa Kamal Stadium in Kamalapur, Dhaka. 53 players were in the camp. BFF arranged the camp to prepare the boys for the SAFF Under-18 Championship 2017 and AFC Under-19 Championship 2018 Qualifiers in Tajikistan.
BKSP girls unbeaten champions of Subrata Cup Girls' Under-17 event In September, the under-17 girls' football team of Bangladesh Krira Shikkha Protisthan (BKSP) became the unbeaten champions of the Girls' Under-17 event of Subrata Mukharjee Cup in India.
No Success in Sheikh Kamal Int'l Club Cup If Chittagong Abahani could became the champions of the second edition of the event they would repeat the history. But, they could not even make it to the final losing to Pocheon Citizen Football Club of South Korea by 2-1 in the semi-finals. TC Sports Club of the Maldives lifted the trophy of the eight-team event beating Pocheon Citizen FC by 4-2 goals in the penalty shootout after the regular time saw a 2-2 draw.
Bangladesh Premier League not finished yet! Out of 22 rounds, 19 rounds of BPL were finished by now. The fans marked the reason behind it as the BFF professional league committee's lack of professionalism. The committee failed to begin and finish the event timely. A total of three rounds are remaining before the fans to find this year's champions while the league is becoming more interesting with the teams fighting to collect points as possible to secure better places on the table. Currently, three teams are maintain themselves in the race to title. The trio are defending champions Dhaka Abahani, Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club and last year runners-up Chittagong Abahani. The Sky-blues are at the top with 45 points while Jamal boys are right behind them with 44 points and the port-city team are at the third place with 43 points. The newbie challengers of the league Saif Sporting Club who were also in the race in the first phase had lost the tempo in the second phase. They have 35 points in their collection and holding the fourth place. This year, one team will face relegation and apparently three of the 12-team league are in danger zone right now. Among these teams, once power house of the league Muktijoddha Sangsad Krira Chakra are in the 10th place with 14 points while two old Dhaka teams, Farashganj Sporting Club are at the 11th place with 14 points while Rahmatganj Muslim Friends Society are at the 12th place with 13 points. The team which will face relegation will be downgraded to Bangladesh Championship League while the champions of the BCL will play Bangladesh Premier League in next season. Earlier on June 3, Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) doubled the amount of the prize money of the Bangladesh Premier League 2017 in the 10th meeting of Federation's Professional League Committee. The champion team will be given Tk 2,000,000 as prize money while the amount was Tk 1,000,000 earlier. The runner-up team will receive Tk 1,000,000 which was Tk 500,000 earlier.
Bangabandhu Gold Cup see no light The fifth edition of Bangabandhu Gold Cup, a prestigious football tournament of South Asia, had not yet taken place. The federation had said about different dates time to time but failed to arrange it. Earlier, the four other editions of the tournament were held in the country in 1996, 1999, 2015 and 2016. BFF said that a total of six national teams would compete in the fifth edition of the event.
Mymensingh become unbeaten champions of JFA Cup U-14 Girls' Football The junior girl booters of Mymensingh district added another feather in their crown becoming the unbeaten champions of the third edition of JFA Cup Under-14 Girls' National School Football Championship outplaying Thakurgaon rivals by 3-0 margin in the final on November 10. It was a hat-trick championship for the Mymensingh girls who clinched the titles for the last two times. However losing the match, the Thakurgaon lost their opportunity to be the champion for the very first time. The heart throbbing final took place at the country's premier football venue Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka.
Junior Tigresses present the nation a victory in the month of victory The under-15 girl booters in the red and green jerseys had presented the nation a tremendous victory beating archrival India by 1-0 in the final of the first edition of SAFF Under-15 Girls' Championship on December 24 at the Bir Shrestha Shaheed Sepoy Mustafa Kamal Stadium in Kamalapur, Dhaka. Clinching the title on the day, the Junior Tigresses had kept a promise they had assured of just before the event began. In a press meet on December 16, skipper of the girls Maria Manda, on behalf of the team, said that they were aspirant of clinching the title of the SAFF Under-15 Girls' Championship in the month of country's victory in the war of liberation. The girls not only kept the promise, they also amazed the fans with their tremendous team spirit, skills, stamina, dribbling, timely delivery and scoring ability in all the matches. When the local men football is suffering from lack of spectators, the girls' football seems attracting spectators in large number. For the girls' relentless good results and the victory in the event, President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina congratulated the juniors.
National women booters in 100! Bangladesh women's national football team had ranked 100 in the recent FIFA world ranking moving six steps up from the previous position. Now, the women are 24th in Asia and second in South Asia. It is the best ranking of the women in red and green jerseys in the history. The women booters had never been in the top 100 before. While the men booters had ashamed the nation with a worse ranking of FIFA at the very beginning of the year, the women had gifted the nation the best ranking in the history this year. The local football had experienced many things over the year. The junior teams had passed a great and successful year while the seniors are expected to have a comeback soon in next year.
Published by the Editor on behalf of the Observer Ltd. from Globe Printers, 24/A, New Eskaton Road, Ramna, Dhaka.
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