While Shamsunnahar, Rupna Chakma and the others were celebrating after winning the final of the SAFF Under-20 Women’s Championship, the Bangladesh team’s goalkeeping coach Masud Ahmed quietly left the scenes.
Masud was beside the team’s head coach Golam Rabbani at the dugout of the Kamalapur Stadium throughout the final, but left the field after the final whistle.
Masud is not just the goalkeeping coach for the women’s U-20 team as he also works with the other women’s age-level teams and the women’s national team. He is a coach under Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) payroll.
Since Biplob Bhattacharjee left as the men’s team’s goalkeeping coach, Masud has been working as the goalkeeping coach of the men’s age-level teams as well.
Women’s team goalkeeper Rupna won her second straight goalkeeper of the tournament award on Thursday and undoubtedly, her coach Masud should get the credit for bringing the best out of her. But when the moment came for him to get acknowledged for his great work, Masud was overlooked.
When the Bangladesh team was celebrating on the stage with the trophy, Masud left the scenes, feeling insulted as his name was dropped from the medal winners list to make room for BFF officials on the stage.
The list of officials of the current Bangladesh U-20 team is quite lengthy. There are 23 players in the squad and a total of 14 coaches and officials. There are two team leaders as well.
During the prize giving ceremony, team leader Zakir Hossain Chowdhury and two assistant managers Tipu Sultan and Nurul Hossain were included in the medal winners list. But Masud’s name was missing!
Dejected and feeling insulted, Masud left the field. However, he later returned to the ground after the prize giving ceremony to keep the request of the footballers.
Masud never thought he would be insulted like this on such a joyous night, “I have trained Rupna for so long. My wife was admitted in a hospital. I couldn’t attend to her enough as I spent my time with the team. On such a great night, I couldn’t get on the stage with her as her coach. I’m feeling hurt by this.”
Rupna, however, did go to her coach at once and clicked her first photo with the trophy beside Masud.
SAFF has no rule against goalkeeping coaches getting on dais. So, Bangladesh’s goalkeeping coach not getting called up to the stage shocked SAFF general secretary Anwarul Haque.
“Usually from our end, we say that the team’s head coach and manager’s name has to be included in the medal winners’ list. If a country wants, it can add other names or take out names from the list. There are no restrictions about this from our end. As he is a part of the coaching staff, why his name wasn’t put on the list is beyond my understanding.”
Masud has played a huge role in Rupna becoming arguably South Asia’s best goalkeeper. Before, there was a technical issue in Rupna’s goalkeeping. She wouldn’t trust her defenders to clear the ball and would leave her post often, which would put the team at risk of conceding goals.
But a transformed Rupna was in action for Bangladesh at the Women’s SAFF in September, which was held in Nepal. In the entire tournament, Rupna conceded just one goal. Her performance earned her the goalkeeper of the tournament award for the very first time in her career. On Thursday, she won the best goalkeeper prize in the U-20 SAFF Championship in Dhaka as well.
After the final on Thursday, Rupna expressed her gratitude towards her coach, “After I was named the best goalkeeper at the SAFF Championship, Ujjal sir (goalkeeping coach Masud) continued training me the same way. That’s why I’ve once again become the best. Sir had told me, ‘You have a chance to become the best for the second time. You have to utlilise this chance’. I’m happy that I could repay sir’s faith.”