It was not the scene perhaps Mamunur Rahman Chayan had been prepared for.
At the end of the game, players from both teams lined up to give him guard of honour, leaving Chayan somewhat surprised as he did not expect such a rare gesture, especially from South Korean players on his international swansong.
Chayan, arguably one of the finest penalty corner takers of Bangladesh and a former captain, retired from international hockey on Saturday with the Asian Games fifth place decider against South Korea without any regret.
Bangladesh lost the game 0-7 but Chayan left the game with his head held high as this was still the best ever finish for the side in the Games history.
‘I had a dream of playing four Asian Games, which I could fulfill. That is my great satisfaction as hockey player,’ Chayan told reporters after the end of the game.
Chayan already explained his decision, which was spurred by his feelings for his three-year old son, who the defender said he frequently missed due to national duty.
‘My son has become three years old, but overall I did not get him more than five to six months. I really feel bad when I see him in video calls,’ he said.
Chayan, 30, who developed his skill at the Bangladesh Krira Sikha Pratishan, has some of his batch mates still shining in some other disciplines.
They include national cricketer Mushfiqur Rahim and shooter Abdullah Hel Baki, who Chayan said both had called him to know why he decided to retire so early.
‘I told them the same what I am telling you. I said they will realise my decision if they have a son like me,’ he said. ‘Also, it’s not easy to play hockey for 12 years. You can do it in cricket or some other sports, but hockey is a tough game,’ he explained.
Chayan played nearly 150 matches for Bangladesh starting from the Asian Games qualifiers in 2006 and scored around 80 goals, mostly from penalty corners.
His exploits include eight international hat-tricks, a rare for a defender if not unique.
Chayan, who promised to continue playing domestic hockey for Bangladesh Navy, said he was leaving international hockey completely satisfied.
‘I don’t have any regret about my career. I got everything I wanted by playing cricket,’ he said.
‘In the past when we went into a game, our common goal was somehow clearing the bal.
‘Now we try to create chances for us. This is a big change for us,’ he said, adding that his best moment in the career came when Bangladesh defeated China in World Hockey League Round-2 match in New Delhi in 2013.
Though Chayan did his best to hide his emotion after his final game, he admitted he spent a sleepless night in Jakarta athlete village thinking of his retirement.
He, however, has one final national duty left as Bangladesh has given him the honour of carrying the national flag in the closing ceremony of the Asian Games.
‘Being a hockey player I could not expect more,’ said Chayan, finally showing sign of some emotion.
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