The native foreigners

Riasat Raihan | Published: 00:00, Jun 10,2018 | Updated: 15:45, Jun 10,2018


Enthusiasm for the upcoming FIFA World Cup 2018 has already engulfed the entire world. Falling to this fever, Bangladeshi football fans are preparing for the greatest show on earth. In this time, Bangladesh is seen flooded with flags of participating countries in the tournament. Riasat Raihan explores the nature of enthusiasm seen for this great event in Bangladesh.

WE ALL know our country is a cricket-playing nation. In spite of that, every FIFA world cup makes Bangladeshi people absolutely crazy. As countries around the world already lighten up for the tournament, people in Bangladesh are already chinned up for world cup. Preparation means, buying jerseys of favourite teams and hoisting flags of playing nations. Dhaka, being a city of over 20 million people, the urban scenario of Bangladesh is absolutely blistered with colourful flags and jerseys.

The hype of the world cup gets so high that we see young boys and girls end up wearing their favourite teams’ jerseys in schools and colleges. People also flaunt mini flags on their cars to show the enthusiasm. I have to say, by doing so the city looks more like a festival of ambassadors from different countries.

We have also seen people going over the line to support their team. Several years earlier, according to media reports, a gentleman from Narayanganj has painted his entire building like a Brazilian flag. A rickshaw puller was photographed last week, he painted his rickshaw an as Argentine flag. Supporters, right? 

Traditionally in our country, football has been perceived as men’s domain. However, women’s enthusiasm over football has not been far from that of men, especially after the recent rise of Bangladesh girls’ football, the audience almost equally consists both men and women. They not only just follow world cup games, but also follow club football regularly. Due to the influences of friends or families, young girls now have the same level of enthusiasm for this game.

Urban youths revolve around social media in the contemporary world. Conforming to this, Dhaka’s urban youths also get overwhelmed in the social media over this big event. We brag about our teams when they perform and we even defend our teams at any cost when they underperform. We talk about the players and their forms, about the match tactics that should be followed by the managers and other technical issues. Usually, around the time of the tournament, every football fan’s newsfeed is overwhelmed with world cup posts.

FIFA World Cup touches people from all walks of life, it brings them together. You will find tea stall owners putting a small paper flag of his favourite team or a rickshaw puller wearing a local version of his team’s jersey. They all know how to love this game and how to enjoy it till the end. For me, it’s no less than a miracle that a sport unites every class of people into a common group.

FIFA World Cup will become a century old event in a couple of decades. This tournament has already entertained generations of people and their offspring. We have learnt about this game from our father, uncle and who are lucky enough, grand-parents. However, practices have changed or evolved from the past considering the urban scenario of Dhaka. Our generations are more knowledgeable about this game of football because of their exposure to the international leagues around the globe. Moreover, with the rampant social media, football has become life to many young ones of this time. On the other hand, our previous generations were more accustomed to playing real football on the field and enjoy watching this during the world cup season. Football actually can unite people of every age together. This is the beauty of this game. No matter how old are you, you will always enjoy this lovely game.       

As restaurant culture has been evolving in the Dhaka scenario, food shops are not behind grabbing this fantastic opportunity to entertain their guests with football match and exquisite cuisine. The owners of the restaurants issue different offers for the audience along with match screening. They launch different offers which includes different sort of foods with a chance to watch the match in a giant screen. And most of the people look for these type of offers so that they can go and enjoy the match with friends and family in a big screen.    

Not only the restaurants arrange match screenings but also many university students arrange match screenings at their respective campuses. So that everyone can get a chance to enjoy the world cup. Even, many people of a particular area also hire a big screen and a projector so that they can arrange the event in their respective areas.

As an audience or as a fan, FIFA world cup is the best thing in the world for football fans. Only a true football lover would know the excitement of this tournament. We wait for long four-years for this. Now, the wait is over. The biggest show on earth is about to start this week. So, what are you waiting for? Put on your favourite team’s jersey and get ready for a rollercoaster ride for one long month. It’s time for Russia! It’s time for the FIFA World Cup 2018!

Riasat Raihat is a member of the New Age Youth team.



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