When Saad Uddin headed home a Jamal Bhuyian free-kick against India at Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata it was believed to be a fresh beginning for Bangladesh football in the right direction despite them conceding a late goal to draw the World Cup qualifying match on October 15.
But the euphoria over of the draw ended soon after a massive failure of Bangladesh Under-23 team in the South Asian Games in Nepal, where, despite sending 16 national players and seeing India skipping the competition, they could win only a bronze. The Bangladesh Men’s National football team started the year 2019 ranked a dismal 192nd out of 210 nations in the FIFA rankings.
They moved to 188th slot in April and then jumped up five place to move 183rd in June and then 182nd in July. That would remain the peak for the year however, as they again slipped down to 184th in October and finally ended the year at 187th with 915 points – so not all that much better in the end, but certainly not worse.
Not only football, rather the whole sports arena of the country was rocked by the ‘Casino Hazard’ in the last three or four months of the year. Bangladesh Premier League football clubs including Arambagh Krira Sangha, Dhaka Mohammedan Limited, Muktijoddha Sangsad Krira Chakra; Bangladesh Championship League football clubs Fakirerpool Youngmen’s Club, Victoria Sporting Club and Dhaka Senior Division League clubs Dhaka Wanderers Club were just some of the established names who became tainted due to the activities of unscrupulous management in the clubhouse. FIFA President Gianni Infantino for the first time visited Bangladesh in October as part of his ‘Goodwill tour’ through Asia.
During his day-long stay in the capital, the boss of world football’s governing body met with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her office. Infantino expressed his observations on the improved performances of Bangladeshi football teams, including the senior men’s side and girls at junior level, to the Prime Minister and assured that the FIFA will continue their support to Bangladesh for the promotion of its football. Bangladesh Under-23 National football team clinched bronze medal in the recently concluded 13th South Asian Games in Nepal.
The Bangladeshi side started campaign in the football discipline of the regional meet conceding 0-1 goal defeat against Bhutan, played 1-1 draw with Maldives, beat Sri Lanka by 1-0 goals and conceded 0-1 goal defeat against hosts Nepal. Dhaka Abahani Limited lifted the season’s curtain raiser Federation Cup trophy for a record 11th time beating Bashundhara Kings 3-1 in the final.
Bashundhara Kings emerged new champions in their first appearance in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) Football securing 63 points and Dhaka Abahani Ltd finished runners-up earning 58 points. Bangladesh Police Football emerged champions in the Bangladesh Championship League securing 39 points and Uttar Baridhara Sporting Club finished runners-up earning 33 points.
Dhaka Abahani Limited were eliminated from the Inter-zone play-off semi-finals of AFC Cup. The Dhanmondi outfit outplayed April 25 SC of North Korea by 4-3 goals in the first-leg home match but conceded 0-2 goals defeat against the North Korean club in the second-leg away match.