Maradona has left the earth but his legacy will surely be everlasting
The legends of Diego Armando Maradona have inspired numerous footballers across the world and the impact was quite astonishing in Bangladesh as well, regardless of whichever team they represent or support, how distant their worlds are from each other, or whether the booters experienced live matches of arguably, the greatest footballer of all time.
There is hardly any country than Argentina which is located so far away from Bangladesh, no matter from whence the distance is measured.
The two countries on the global map are just polar opposites in the globe.
“How many in Bangladesh would know Argentina before 1986? How they know now?” questioned former national winger Ashrafuddin Ahmed Chunnu, who played for Abahani Limited from 1975 to 1988.
He answered right away, “Most of the people of our country supported Brazil, but after 1986, our country was divided into two groups during every World Cup – Argentina and Brazil – because of Maradona.
“We looked for chances to watch – when he will play, when we would get to see him on TV. His impact was apparent among all footballers of the country, and not only in Dhaka League. He created this phenomenon by his own capacity.”
Maradona became a worldwide icon and household name after winning the World Cup in 1986.
Many players at that time tried to copy his playing style and those who were best at it were called by his name.
For example, Rumman bin Wali Sabbir was dubbed as “Maradona of Bangla” for his footwork.
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Wasim Iqbal was also hailed by the very sobriquet.
Chunnu continued, “They wanted to play like Maradona. The effect was on all those players who played in forward and midfield. They were like, ‘I want to be Maradona. I want to play like Maradona’.”
Sheikh Mohammad Aslam, one of the finest strikers of the country who charmed domestic football, admitted their efforts to duplicate the Argentine on the pitch were in vain.
“We followed his style and tried to implement them on the pitch. But it was very difficult. It was not possible for us, but only for Maradona. He was indomitable. He was such a great footballer,” the Abahani legend told Dhaka Tribune.
“People from all ages knew Maradona. Some didn’t know Brazil but they know Maradona. It was unbelievable. The generation at that time, I saw them all come and play on the field with his No 10 jersey,” he added.
Alfaz Ahmed, the star striker who came into the scene after Aslam and played for the national team from 1995 to 2008, was also inspired by one of the greatest footballers ever.
“I was playing youth football league during the 1986 World Cup. I got fascinated by him since then. I wanted to be a footballer like him. It always gave me joyful feeling wherever I saw him, either on TV or papers,” said Alfaz.
Jahid Hasan Ameli became the next most prolific Bangladesh striker after Alfaz.
He was born in 1987.
The legends of Diego Armando Maradona have inspired numerous footballers across the world and the impact was quite...Posted by Sports Tribune on Thursday, 26 November 2020
After making debut in 2005, he retired from international football two years ago.
“There is no other footballer who has left so much impression. Those who were born after 1990, the first sportsperson they heard the name of was Maradona. I heard so much of his legends that I fell for the game. It is because of him my love for football was bloomed. Maradona is a name of an inspiration,” said Ameli.
Current national team’s most experienced member and former captain Mamunul Islam echoed the same sentiment while paying his homage from Qatar through a video message.
The 31-year old midfielder said, “I didn’t get the opportunity to watch him live but Maradona is a brand. People loves him decade after decade after watching him play. I myself support Argentina just because of Maradona. It is because of him I love football. He is no more with us physically but everyone who loves football would say one thing, Maradona will always be in our heart.”
The debate may always be there whether Pele is the greatest ever or Maradona.
But in one aspect Maradona perhaps already has tackled passed the Brazilian counterpart - his charismatic playing style was more accessible to the audience due to advanced technology.
The footages of Maradona magic along with tales and stories will certainly inspire generations to come in Bangladesh and elsewhere.
Maradona left the earth but his legacy will surely be everlasting.