Heartbreak for young footballersStaff Correspondent
The Under-10 and Under -12 national teams will not take part in the Youth Football Festival in South Korea from October 4-6, breaking the hearts of the players slated to make the trip.
The players were denied visas to attend the festival after the confirmation deadline was allowed to pass without anyone informing the Korean embassy that Bangladesh would participate.
Officials at the Bangladesh Football Federation blamed the Ministry of Youth and Sports for the debacle on Tuesday, saying that the Korea Football Federation sent an invitation to the ministry two months ago, but the ministry only forwarded the letter to them on September 10 and told them to confirm their participation by September 12.
The BFF gave its confirmation on September 15, but the ministry then failed to inform the Korean embassy.
The BFF proceeded with its preparation, forming two teams after a trial on September 21 and starting a training camp for the 30 players on September 23. Coaches Alfaz Ahmed and Mahbubur Rahman Litu were put in charge of the teams.
The BFF had also arranged for passports to be issued to the players, but when the documents were sent to the Korean embassy, the visa applications were rejected.
‘September 19 was the last date to confirm participation [in the Youth Football Festival], but the ministry did not contact the Korean embassy. When we submitted the visa forms they refused to give the visas because [the applications were] late,’ BFF general secretary Abu Nayeem Sohag said on Tuesday.
`We made all kinds of arrangements to send the teams to Korea, but due to the ministry’s carelessness we were forced to cancel the preparation camp, which was very unfortunate,’ he added.
Ministry of Youth and Sports officials could not immediately be reached for comment.
Meanwhile, the players expressed their frustration at the trip’s cancellation.
`I am very unhappy about the cancellation,’ said Under-12 striker Mohammed Arif Hossain.
`Before learning of the cancellation I dreamed of playing there and getting experience by playing abroad,’ added the 11-year-old, who is a student at Sher-e-Bangla Government Primary School.
This latest episode comes on the heels of the BFF’s last-minute decision to withdraw the Under-16 national football team from the AFC Under-16 qualifiers last month, just days before the competition was scheduled to begin.
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