Today, a memorable and proud chapter is going to be added to the history of South Asian club football culture, which will brighten the image of Bangladesh in international club football.
Bashundhara Kings, sponsored by Bashundhara Group, one of the country’s largest industrial groups, will play against Indian club Odisha in the AFC Cup match today. And this match will be held at their own venue ‘Basundhara Kings Arena’. This is the first international club football match at this FIFA and AFC-recognised modern venue.
Football fans of the country are celebrating this day by hosting international club football at King’s Arena. At the same time, Bashundhara Group Chairman Ahmed Akbar Sobhan, his sports-loving son Sadat Sobhan Tanveer, Shafiat Sobhan Sanveer, Sayem Sobhan Anveer (Chairman of Sheikh Russell Sports Circle) and Safwan Sobhan Tasveer (Lt. Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club President and Cricket Franchise Rangpur Riders) were also excited. Chairman), Bashundhara Kings President Imrul Hasan, Kings players, team management and all officers and employees of Bashundhara Group.
It is going to be a historic day in independent Bangladesh football. At the same time, it is going to be an exemplary example for all clubs in South Asia.
President of Bashundhara Kings Imrul Hasan said, We used to dream of this day. And today that dream is going to come true. What could be happier than this!
This is the first time in South Asia that a private club is playing international club football in its own modern arena. It is a matter of joy and pride for the 17 crore people of Bangladesh. Bashundhara Group believes that football will rise again and regain its lost glory.
The list of large corporate organizations associated with corporate culture in South Asian countries is quite large. Among these, many corporate organizations are regularly sponsoring sports out of social responsibility. Some directly and indirectly sponsor popular football, cricket and other sports clubs. But no corporate organization has invested thousands of crores in building multi-sports complex, club modern arena for development of various sports facilities like Bashundhara Group of Bangladesh. This is where Bashundhara Group is unique.
Bashundhara Kings, a European football expert at a seminar of football writers and analysts in Asia, called Kings a multi-sports complex and holder of a fair club culture.
He said, the responsibility and contribution of this club in Bangladesh football is exemplary for others. The European expert also pointed out that Bashundhara Kings is a full-fledged professional club in Bangladesh and “Kings Arena has all the facilities like a European club”.
Records are of particular importance in sports. The journey of Bashundhara Kings Club started with the idea of starting something new. The club won the Pioneer League title in 2016. After that, starting from the 2018-2019 season, he won the Premier League title four times in a row. No one else has this record in the football history of this country.
Bashundhara Group Chairman Ahmed Akbar Sobhan always thinks about the sports arena of the country and has a specific goal and dream for the sports arena. The president of Kings asked the chairman of the group for only seven-eight bighas of land for the practice of the club’s team. Three hundred bighas of land has been given to build a sports complex there. Bashundhara Group chairman not only loves sports, sports is in his blood. The same applies to his sons. This is a big boon for the country’s sports scene.
The construction of the sports complex started in 2019. If everything goes well, the entire work of this complex will be completed next year i.e. December 2024. After that the activities of the academy will start. Three of Europe’s most famous clubs have already shown interest in franchising the academy. It is expected that after eight to ten years of opening the academy, Bashundhara Kings will form a team with their own players, and even sell the extra players to other clubs.
Bashundhara Kings played their first Premier League home match at their own arena on 17 February 2022. During the intermission of the match on the first day, the ‘Basundhara Kings Arena’ was inaugurated by the chairman of the group, Ahmed Akbar Sobhan (at that time FIFA and AFC were not recognized). Then on 2 June 2023, the second half of a Premier League match between Bashundhara Kings and Dhaka Mohammedans was played under floodlights.
Bashundhara Kings Arena hosted the first two FIFA friendly matches between Bangladesh and Afghanistan on September 3 and 7 after receiving FIFA and AFC recognition.
The arrival of the Bashundhara Kings demands time. In just five-six years, the club’s on-field performance is remarkable in how it has created a response among football fans and contributed to the fascination of football. Bashundhara Kings not only changed the image of football in the country and Hawaii, but also changed the story of football in the country.
Author: Former Senior Vice President, International Sports Press Association (AIPS), Asia