World football governing body Fifa's review of Bangladesh football termed the current state as “alarming” but pledged to move forward together with its support through the “realistic” and “concrete” development programme for the next two-four years.
A four-member delegation team, headed by Fifa's senior development manager Mike Pfister, son of former Bangladesh head coach Otto Pfister, came to Dhaka last Tuesday. Not only did they discuss with the Bangladesh Football Federation but they also met the clubs and district football officials.
They advised the federation to form better relations with the government as well as the ministry of education and sport so that the schools and district football associations get more connected with the BFF and spread the game across grass-root level.
They also advised the federation to run more like a corporation.
The BFF has the opportunity to get around double the financial assistance from Fifa if it is able to convince them with a big, realistic plan.
After Swiss-Italian Gianni Infantino became the new president of Fifa, he launched a new, tailor-made development programme called “Fifa Forward” that promises more funds for its member associations.
“It's a very difficult time now if you look at the performance of Bangladesh football in the international scene. Of course performance in international scene is a reflection of what is being done. That is an alarming wake-up call. We at Fifa believe that in Bangladesh we need a turning point. Always comes a time when you close a chapter and open up a new chapter,” Pfister told the media on Friday.
“In a country where there is no grass-root and youth football, the future is in danger. Particular plans and angles can be put on grass-root and youth football development. Basically it's a shame that no club here has a youth team. So that's a basic structure that we have to work on,” he said.
With the new Fifa Forward programme, the BFF has the chance to get $750,000 annually for development purposes and with the country's football currently in a shambles, Pfister found the fall of Bangladesh football and the new development programme of Fifa as a “great coincidence”.
“These are fundings that are given for development programme with a clear objective and we control that money very, very carefully,” said Pfister, adding that they will monitor the programme closely and regularly.
Salahuddin said they will prepare a master plan with all the details within two weeks and send it to Fifa. Pfister said they will analyse it in the next couple of months.
He added, “One advice, the more you present and more objects you input, that means you are more not likely to reach the objectives. The advice from us is be realistic and concrete and include the long- and short-term plannings. So our plan is not four years, it is a two-year plan. So, our advice is to see how the grassroot works.
“Our recommendation is that BFF should work closely with the government's education department and sports ministry. As we know, government organises one of the biggest school-level competitions every year where nearly 60,000 schools were involved. So there is a massive opportunity for Bangladesh football.”