Kolkata celebrating Martinez’s arrival, why is Dhaka so quiet?

Argentina's World Cup winning goalkeeper Emiliano MartinezReuters

The whole of Kolkata is in a celebratory mood ahead of the arrival of Emiliano Martinez. Whereas in Dhaka, where he will arrive before going to Kolkata, there is hardly any palpable excitement. The only reason for this is that there is little to no chance of the common Bangladeshi Argentina fans to meet Martinez. This is quite surprising to say the least. Martinez, after learning about the Argentina craze of the Bangladeshi people, added Dhaka in his tour itinerary. But now there is no scope for him to actually experience that craze first hand.

The World Cup Golden Glove winning Argentine goalkeeper is to land in Dhaka tomorrow (Monday) at 5:10am. He has already started out for to Bangladesh. It will take him almost 38 hours to reach Bangladesh. He will board the plane to Bangladesh in Amsterdam at 11:00 local time. He will reach Bangladesh within another 11 hours. He will land at 5:10am and then board a flight to Kolkata at 4:40pm.

So, what will Martinez do during his time in Dhaka? Satadru Dutta, the sports promoter who took the initiative to make this tour a reality, said over the phone, that other than meeting with prime minister Sheikh Hasina, there is nothing much in Martinez’s tour itinerary in Bangladesh.

Martinez will meet the PM at 2:00pm. He will then go to the FundedNext office at the Pragati Sarani in Badda.

FundedNext is company of digital business group Next Venture. They have offices around the world. That’s how they have connections with global superstars like Emiliano Martinez. Martinez will spend around an hour with the officials of FundedNext. FundedNext has made all the arrangements for Martinez’s arrival to Dhaka and his brief stay.

Many phoned him after learning that Martinez himself wants to come to Dhaka. To finalise everything, Satadru held multiple meetings in Dhaka with a number of organisations. But none of them materialized.

Satadru gave up any thoughts of making a profit and his only intention was to make sure that Martinez at least lays a foot in Dhaka. As Martinez himself wanted to visit Bangladesh, Satadru had to ensure that. FundedNext solved this problem. The company’s official Syed Abdullah Jayed said, we were in contact with Emiliano since the World Cup. When he wanted to visit Dhaka, everything just fell into place.

But why are not they promoting the fact that such a big global star is arriving in Bangladesh under their sponsorship? Jayed said, their business spans across the world and they didn’t want too much publicity in Bangladesh about Martinez’s visit. Still, they had also planned a programme where the general people would get a chance to see Martinez. In the end, nothing like that is happening. The reason behind that he said, “Emiliano Martinez’s visit is centred around Kolkata. He will stay in Dhaka for a very brief period, he is also coming here after a very long journey. So we didn’t want to go through the hassle of a public event.”

Many events will be held in Kolkata. An event titled ‘Tahader Kotha’ (Their Story) will be held on 4 July at 12:30 pm, organised by Satadru Dutta Initiative -- where Martinez will talk about his life and stories behind his successes in football.  

Tickets of seven categories of this occasion -- ranging from minimum 499 rupees to maximum 125,000 rupees -- have already been sold out.  With a Martinez-signed jersey, those who purchased platinum tickets at 125,000 rupees will have a chance to meet and have lunch with him.

After this event, Martinez will visit Mohun Bagan Club where he will inaugurate the gates named after Sobers, Pele and Maradona.

A friendly match between the former players of Police Commissioner XI and Mohun Bagan club will be held. Martinez will attend the match as a spectator. Free tickets to see Martinez at Mohun Bagan Club were supposed to be distributed between 2:00 pm on Saturday and 6:00 pm Sunday. But the tickets were sold out within two hours on Saturday.     

When asked while many events are being organised in Kolkata [to welcome Martinez], why not in Dhaka, Satadru Dutta replied, "I was interested, but it did not happen. The Dhaka part is taking place thanks to the love of Emi (Martinez). I have a soft corner for Bangladesh and that is also a reason."

But the reason that inspired Martinez arriving here is unfortunately not taking place as general people will be unable to meet him and show their extreme passion for Argentine football. By acknowledging the fact, Satadru said, "Emi will meet the prime minister -- who will act as a representative from all Bangladeshis. She is a big sports fan. I am happy to organise this."