English Musing

World cup Fever blows Bangladesh

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Football or soccer, as is it called in some parts of the world, is undoubtedly the greatest game mankind has ever invented. The FIFA World Cup is the most widely-viewed sporting event in the world. Bangladesh is one rare country where during the World Cup people actively identify with and support a country that they otherwise have no connection with; and their favorites?

Either ‘’Argentina’’ or ‘‘Brazil’’ and you will see flags of those countries hoisted by the supporters on their rooftops. The dominant sport in Bangladesh is cricket, but this World Cup has shown just how passionate the South Asian nation’s 16 million citizens are about football. Even though they are around 9,000 miles away from South America, the majority of Bangladeshi people support either Argentina or Brazil .

Within a couple of weeks 2014 FIFA world cup will start in Brazil and the Bangladeshi‘s are discussing about this mega event. The storm in a teacup is the supporters’ analysis of whether their team will be winning the world cup or not.

With the beginning of the World Cup 2014, the people of Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka have been divided into groups supporting their favorite teams, especially Brazil and Argentina. Bangladesh football fans’ mania for the two Latin American teams is so strong that the supporters of other participating teams remain almost subdued.

“There is no team in the world which can defeat Brazil. Brazil will definitely win the cup this year,” said Abdul baten, a businessman in Dhaka.  This is the adamant belief of the Brazilian supporter who claims that this time the title must be on their kitty.

Another die hard supporter of Brazil Bappy Podder ,senior officer of a private bank says ‘’Neymar might be Brazil’s World Cup poster boy but David Luiz and Thiago Silva’s defensive partnership is the real key to the Selecao’s success.’’

He also added that Neymar’s common exemplary traits are his creativity, passing, clinical finishing, exceptional dribbling and technical ability, being described as both “electric” and “explosive”.

Undoubtedly most Bangladeshis are die-hard fans of Brazil and Argentina, and the support for Argentina comes mainly due to Maradona’s huge popularity.

“I’m a fan of Argentina and it’s because of Maradona. I love him very much,” said Jasim Uddin, a rickshaw-puller.

Although the football legend hung his boots a decade ago, some crazy fans believe Maradona is still in action!

“Only Argentina can beat Brazil. So we are looking forward to Argentina doing it again,” said Maidul Islam, student of University of Dhaka.

Again an extremist type supporter of Argentina, Aslam ali rajib , A multinational  company employee says “It sounds ridiculous to me to doubt Messi. If you have the best then you will try to squeeze the maximum out of him. Everyone has to agree that Messi  is the world’s best footballer.”

Messi has been compared to compatriot Diego Maradona, due to their similar playing style and stature, which gives him a lower center of gravity than most players, allowing him to be more agile and change direction more quickly, helping him to evade tackles.

The number of supporters of Brazil in Bangladesh is undoubtedly the largest. And due to huge media coverage, the supporters know the names of most Brazilian and Argentine footballers, especially Neymar, Thiago, Dani alvez , Messi, Di Maria etc.

“Neymar alone can beat any team in the world on his day. If Neymar does not play selfish football this time no one can beat Brazil,” said a supporter.

The World Cup has also encouraged business of posters, T-shirts and other souvenirs with photographs of the football stars like Messi, Neymar, Roney and even Maradona. These are selling like hot cake in Dhaka’s footpaths and other markets.

Apart from these two countries; there are also other country supporters which participating in the World cup.

‘’Germany all the way; It’s the most complete team. Unlike Argentina they don’t lack a good defense, they have a world class goal keeper and the best striking ammunition in the world ’’ very confidently declares One of German fan. He also hopes that it’s time for Germany to conquer Brazil

Portugal and Spain have also gearing up for the for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Yet Portugal has the world’s one of the best footballer of the world Cristiano Ronaldo, who the Portugal fan believe could make a tremendous shift than any  other team.

When one lucky captain lifts that trophy on 13 July, above clichés could have been consigned to the history book Or further fuelled and trotted out again for more four years waiting. Whatever the crazy fans shouting by the name of player or upholding other countries flag on building top but keep in mind our country’s image must also be saved and the proud moment is that we do not participate in the tournament but still we are there, interesting! Isn’t it?

We are there where every supporter wearing a jersey to cheer for their team where in a bold lining Made in Bangladesh will be ascribed.

Ashfaque Ahmed Abir

Writer can be reached at Ashfaque.abir@gmail.com