Sheikh Kamal, the architect of modern sports in Bangladesh and founder-president of Abahani Limited, Dhaka, was assassinated with the rest of his family on the fateful night of August 15, 1975, at the age of 26
The sports arena of the country Wednesday paid profound tribute to Sheikh Kamal, eldest son of the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, on the occasion of his 71st birth anniversary.
Sheikh Kamal, the architect of modern sports in Bangladesh and founder-president of Abahani Limited, Dhaka, was assassinated with the rest of his family on the fateful night of August 15, 1975, at the age of 26.
Interim director-in-charge of Abahani, Kazi Nabil Ahmed, Bangladesh Cricket Board director Kazi Inam Ahmed, Abahani founding general secretary Harunur Rashid, among others, placed wreaths at his mural portrait at the club premises in Dhanmondi at 12:01am Wednesday.
Later, Bangladesh Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader, State Minister for Youth and Sports Jahid Ahsan Russel, Matia Chowdhury, Member of Parliament, different political, sports, social and cultural organizations and Abahani directors, officials and fan clubs also paid their respects by placing wreaths.
Owing to the coronavirus pandemic, Abahani organized a virtual remembrance conference in the evening, hosted by Nabil, instead of the customary day-long programs at the club premises.
Alongside Nabil and Harunur, club chairman Salman F Rahman, BCB president Nazmul Hasan, Nasrul Hamid MP, director, Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun, Industries Minister, and Anjan Chowdhury, director, recalled and cherished the memories of Sheikh Kamal.
Throughout the virtual remembrance conference, Nabil reminisced the times when Sheikh Kamal was around, and said, “He was not only a cultural and sporting personality, he was also a brave freedom fighter and a political person, he also made many social contributions.”
“Every year at the Abahani premises we celebrate Sheikh Kamal’s birthday. Due to corona we were unable to do it this year. We always want to celebrate his birthday. At the same time, since this is the month of mourning, we decided to limit it to a discussion,” said Salman, a friend of Sheikh Kamal.
“I once asked Kamal before going to London, my friend, what would I bring for you? Back then anyone would have said to bring shirt and pen. But Kamal said, he had to arrange footwear for his charges at Abahani. He even named the shop.
“If he was alive, he would have been the most happy with how we made a name for ourselves in cricket. This was his real dream. We could have even won a medal in the Olympics if he was here today. But we are going towards that path. If he was here, he would have taken sports to a higher level as he was an efficient organizer.”
“Actually it is tough for me to talk about Kamal bhai. I was a child back then, 14-15 of us used to gather at a shop after school. Just like that one day a car stopped in front of us. I saw it was Kamal bhai, he asked why we hung out there and did not play instead. We replied saying where will we play? Back then he told us to play at 21 No. road in Dhanmondi, just opposite to Abahani field. This is how he brought me to sports,” said Nazmul, recollecting the time when he was encouraged to play sports by Sheikh Kamal.
“Bangladesh back then was a war-torn country and everyone was anxious. It was beyond imagination that anyone would think about sports and the youth at that time. Kamal bhai came forward and contributed with his efforts. It is because of him that Abahani were established.”
“I was a child then, Kamal bhai used to come around our house often. The old memories still linger in my mind. Modernization in football came through him. He was ideal in every aspect. He played instruments, used to do acting. He introduced modern football to the players. As a result, Abahani have become an important club over the past decades,” said Nasrul.
A Doa Mahfil was also held where the Abahani directors, officials, players, fans and guests were present.