• Wednesday, Oct 16, 2019
  • Last Update : 03:19 am

Amputee Football Fest ignites joy and hope

  • Published at 11:56 pm September 16th, 2019

A project of Imago Sports Welfare Association titled ‘Khelbei Bangladesh’ came forward to organize the country’s first ever Amputee Football Fest at the BFF artificial turf

Rafiqul Islam had his right hand amputated in 2008 following a wrong treatment by a local doctor in Mougachi village of Rajshahi’s Mohanpur upazila. 

The 30-year-old is a leaseholder of the local hut and came to Dhaka Monday morning to join the first-ever Amputee Football Fest where more than 30 physically challenged persons across the country gathered to exhibit their football skills despite not having a leg or hand/s.

Having both legs intact but losing one or two hands was the requirement to become goalkeeper in amputee football while the outfield players must have both hands but can have at least one leg. 

Following an open trial in the morning the selected players were divided into two teams and played a seven-a-side friendly match in the afternoon where Rafiqul couldn’t play the game but was still elated by merely joining the fest.  

The 16-year-old Bayezid Bostami threw off his crutches to start the celebration with a wild run after scoring the only goal of the game with a praiseworthy effort. 

He was only six years old when he lost his left leg following a road accident in Savar when a truck hit him while collecting a football on the roadside but never gave up on playing different sports like cricket, football, swimming etc.

Bayezid said that he is very popular in Kishoreganj’s Kuliarchar upazila and often hired to play cricket and football from neighboring localities. “I used to play cricket more. I can comfortably run without any crutch. I told them that I want to play without using crutches but it goes against the rules of game. I want to represent Bangladesh in amputee football in international stage.”

Physical limitation also didn’t stop Rahmatullah Babu, one of the playing members in the losing side, to pursue his passion for sports. Babu joined the Old Dhaka outfits Rahmatganj MFS football academy before having his right leg amputated after a road accident at the Badda link road in the capital five years ago.

Since 2017, Babu has been involved in Basketball, swimming and athletics under different organisations like CRP, ICRC and BRAC. “I could have become a footballer if I’d not lost my leg. I’m very inspired after coming here to play a football match like this since my accident.”

There were also some very few ones like Nafiur Rahman who was born without a leg. 

The 19-year-old said, “I used to go to school through crawling, then one day, my mother gave me crutches and she became so happy to see me walking with them. 

I started going to high school riding cycle and now I go to college driving motorcycle. I can play swimming and cricket (spin bowler) and can compete with anyone. Now I feel like I can do anything.”

Abdullah Al Sujan, who had his right leg amputated following an electric shock in 2005, also played cricket six months ago before trying his luck first time in football Monday.  

It was Md Mohasin, the founder-cum-president of Wheelchair Cricket Welfare Association Bangladesh (WCWAB) and co-founder of Bangladesh Amputee Football, who gathered all these amputated footballers following an open announcement on facebook.

A project of Imago Sports Welfare Association titled ‘Khelbei Bangladesh’ came forward to organize the country’s first ever Amputee Football Fest at the BFF artificial turf. 

Along with the supports from the BFF, the day-long event was sponsored by Confidence Group and Muslim Sweets. 

The representatives of the respective authorities expressed their desire to spread the country’s new-born amputee football around the world including the World Cup.