Sazzad Hossain, who had his left leg amputated at early age due to polio, came from Bogura to participate in the first-ever Amputee Football Fest on Monday, when more than 30 physically challenged persons from across the country gathered to exhibit their football skills.
Sazzad, who is also a member of national wheelchair cricket team, thought football harder than cricket though it could not stop him to provide an assist for the only goal of the 40-minute match that helped his Bangladesh-A team emerge as champions.
‘We don’t get any financial support to play in this kind of game, but I am happy that I could at least play,’ Sazzad told New Age. ‘We all here want prove that we also can play. It's risky though. But I like playing,’ said Sazzad, who runs a computer training centre in Bogura for his livelihood.
The game at the artificial turf near Bangladesh Football Federation Bhaban also brought a rare occasion of joy for 16-year old Bayezid Bostami, who 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. Football was involved with the tragedy of his life as he was hit by a truck when he went to collect the ball during a game. But never gave up on playing different sports like cricket, football, swimming.
‘I used to play cricket more. I can comfortably run without my crutch. I told the organisers today that I want to play without using crutches but they said it goes against the rules of game. I want to represent Bangladesh in amputee football in international stage,’ said Bayezid.
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. He did not play the game but came to join the fest and share excitement with fellow amputees.
Physical barrier also could not stop Rahmatullah Babu, one of the playing members of the losing side, to pursue his passion in sports. Babu joined the Old Dhaka outfits Rahmatganj Muslims Friends Society football academy before seeing 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 had not lost my leg. I’m very inspired after coming here to play a football match like this,’ he said.
Following an open trial in the morning the selected players were divided into two teams and played a seven-a-side friendly match.
Mohammad Mohsin, the founding president of Wheelchair Cricket Welfare Association Bangladesh and co-founder of Bangladesh Amputee Football, gathered the amputated footballers after making an open announcement on Facebook.
A project of Imago Sports Welfare Association titled ‘Khelbei Bangladesh’ came forward to organise the meet with the supports from the Bangladesh Football Federation.
The day-long event was sponsored by Confidence Group and Muslim Sweets.
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