National hockey players welcomed the formation of an ad-hoc committee for the Bangladesh Hockey Federation but demanded that the premier division league be reinstated and to hold the inter-club player's transfers immediately, as they have been sitting idle since the last league held in 2016.
The players issued these demands to the new BHF committee yesterday after they reported to head coach Mahbub Harun for the national training camp ahead of March's qualifying fixtures of the Asian Games, which will be held in Indonesia in August-September this year. The last players' transfers took place in early 2016.
“Whoever takes the helm at the federation, we want the committee to start the premier league which is our big demand. We want them to hold the league every year, not only one year,” said national team's defender Imran Hasan Pintoo, adding that he also expects the ad-hoc committee to take necessary steps for the overall development of the country's hockey.
National striker Rasel Mahmud Jimmy echoed Pintoo's sentiments and requested the committee to announce the player's transfer window without delay because players could benefit financially.
“The players' transfers are not taking place for a long time. We want the committee to declare it immediately. The players will remain upbeat before the Asian Games Qualifiers if they can take part in players' transfers because they will get some financial benefit,” said Jimmy.
Jimmy also pointed out that some 38 players were called up for the national team but not all of them will get a spot in the final squad and hence many will remain idle.
Junior forward Arshad Hossain said: “It is equally important for us to play for the national team as well as play in the domestic league and I think the committee will put an emphasis on both matters.”
“The premier league is the source of the players' bread and butter, so the players always want the league to be held regularly,” opined veteran defender Mamunur Rahman Chayan.
BHF general secretary Abdus Sadeque, vice president Pratap Shankar Hazra, joint secretary Mahbub Ehsan Rana were also present at the training camp, which is set to begin today at the Maulana Bhasani Hockey Stadium.
“We will not be able to hold the premier league before the Asian Games qualifiers but I want to start the process of the players' transfers before the players leave for Oman to play the tournament. The new committee will try to sit together by next week and form a league committee to take things ahead,” said Sadeque, who revealed that he personally wants to introduce more tournaments in the domestic circuit.
“I personally want to insert teams like Sheikh Jamal, Sheikh Russel and Saif SC in the premier league but if I can't include them in the league, I want to introduce a corporate league with the involvement of those clubs,” said the former national player, who also led the previously elected committee for two years.
Meanwhile, national players are supposed to undergo fitness training for the next 15 days before the 38-member squad is trimmed to 25 or 26.