• Tue. Jun 6th, 2023

Salahuddin, a synonym for ‘slamming’


Apr 16, 2023

His name will be in the top half of the list of Bangladesh’s legendary sportspersons. Many may be tempted to oppose this claim. Rarely has Kazi Salahuddin received any praise since taking over as the BFF president in 2008. Contrarily, the name Salahuddin has been synonymous to controversies. Some can even say, – ‘S’ for Salahuddin, ‘S’ for slamming. So why is the word ‘legend’ still being used to describe Salahuddin!

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Salahuddin, who always had a commanding presence on the football ground, has never been at ease as the BFF president. What makes this even more surprising is the fact that he is the only federation president in the highly politicised sporting culture of Bangladesh who was a sportsman first and has no connection with politics.

Being a former player is not a requisite to becoming a federation president. But when a former player ascends to the president’s post, he is certain to enjoy added credibility. Moreover so when that player is a legendary figure like Salahuddin. But has Salahuddin managed to reach that level of credibility?

Kazi Salahuddin has been the BFF president since 2008
Kazi Salahuddin has been the BFF president since 2008Shamsul Hoque
The answer is an overwhelming ‘no’. The tragedy is- despite being a former player and captain of the national team of the very sport he is currently the federation chief in, he is now the most controversial and criticised of all the sports federation presidents of the country. The general sports fans of the country, his former teammates, presidents of other sports federations and even the sports minister slam Salahuddin at every opportunity. No other president of any sports body in Bangladesh has to endure so much criticism.

The suspension of BFF general secretary Abu Nayeem Shohag has presented another such opportunity. There are no allegations against Salahuddin in FIFA’s investigation. Still, the question naturally arises, could there have been so many irregularities without the backing of the BFF president! This is a huge administrative failure for him as the president of BFF.

Salahuddin is also not dodging the blame. When the topic came up in the president’s office at BFF House on Saturday afternoon, Salahuddin said, “Definitely. I have to take responsibility.”

Kazi Salahuddin in the press conference
Kazi Salahuddin in the press conferenceProthom Alo
But doesn’t it bother Salahuddin to be such a controversial figure as the BFF president after his storied football career? Salahuddin was asked this very question and in reply, he sort of surrendered, “It definitely does. This is never a good feeling.”

But he immediately tried to explain why he is facing so much criticism, “Here (BFF), everything is open for all. Anyone can come in and criticise me however they wish to. I don’t say anything. Many other federations also have a lot of problems. Nobody says anything about them.”

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Kazi Salahuddin
Kazi SalahuddinProthom Alo
Does Salahuddin have no accomplishments as the BFF president? At one time, domestic football had become irregular. Under Salahuddin, it has once again become regular. The players have been busy on the field. The performance may not have been too good, but the national team almost always had an overseas coaching panel. The national team has had training camps abroad, which was unthinkable before. The remarkable successes in women’s football which has stunned everyone – Salahuddin has played a crucial role behind it with his patronage, both as a president and also on a personal level.

There can be a counter-question– the girls are doing well, but Salahuddin has failed to make any improvement in men’s football. He also has the answer to this question, “The girls are doing well, because we kept these girls together for a long time and trained them. They live under our supervision. We release them for around two months to play for their clubs and then they again return to us. We can’t do that in men’s football. They are under their club’s supervision for majority of the year.”

There is also difference of opinions about his Salahuddin’s achievements. The controversies surrounding him as the BFF president have piled on and turned into a mountain which casts a giant shadow over whatever good has happened during his tenure. So, right now in Bangladesh football – ‘S’ stands for Salahuddin, ‘S’ stands for slamming.


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