Here are some interesting facts about Sheikh Kamal in the country’s sports arena
A renowned veteran journalist once said during an interview that Sheikh Kamal played, and was involved in, many sports for joy, and could have easily built a playing career in cricket and basketball.
But Sheikh Kamal had different goals and was destined for greater purposes.
He not only founded Abahani Limited and brought modernity in the country’s football, but also helped other clubs and worked for the welfare of both the players and the clubs at a very young age.
Here are some interesting facts about Sheikh Kamal in the country’s sports arena:
1. Around 1966, Sheikh Kamal, his friends and a group of young people from Dhanmondi locality led a successful long protest against the then Pakistan government's decision to sell barren field in front of KDS Pharmaceutical Laboratory at Satmasjid Road, now known as Abahani field.
2. Sheikh Kamal wanted to form a club and now they had a field. Letters were distributed to every house of Dhanmondi area asking for names for the organization. The name "Abahani" suggested by Bangla Professor of Lalmatia College, Matiur Rahman, was taken. Abahani Samaj Kalyan Samiti became the first Bengali named club during the Pakistan era.
3. Abahani took a new turn after Liberation War and in order to play in the first division, they reached a mutual agreement with the then defunct Iqbal Sporting Club of same locality and changed the club's name to Abahani Krira Chakra in 1972.
4. One of Sheikh Kamal’s first loves was basketball. He started with the basketball team of BAF Shaheen School, followed by Spurs Club. He played for Azad Sporting, Rangers and Wanderers Club and won many trophies. He also formed a strong basketball team for Khulna Abahani.
5. Sheikh Kamal was also a regular participant of athletics events during school and university days, and became champion three times, including the 100m sprint during the annual sports event of Salimullah Hall in 1975.
6. He played football at Dhanmondi Club (now Lt. Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club Limited) where he was also joint-secretary in 1968 while studying in Dhaka College.
7. In cricket, Sheikh Kamal was known to bowl quick. He played Sher-e-Bangla Cup for Gendaria Cricketers and national cricket championship for University of Dhaka in the 1974-75 season. He also led Abahani to the first division league title 1974 and once took five wickets for 28 runs against old club Gendaria.
8. In volleyball, he led social science department to inter-house volleyball championship title during university life.
9. Sheikh Kamal proved his worth as a dedicated organizer at a very young age. It was his negotiations that brought some top footballers of Mohammedan Sporting Club Limited to Abahani like Kazi Salahuddin, Ghulam Sarwar Tipu and Amalesh Sen to form a strong team.
10. Sheikh Kamal brought Irish coach William Bill Hart, first foreign coach of the country, to guide Abahani to their debut league title in 1974. Abahani also toured outside Bangladesh for the first time to play the IFA Shield in India under the guidance of Hart.
Source: Sheikh Kamal Krirangoner Dhumketu, by Sanat Babla