An unbelievable scenario of a jam-packed crowd cheering the Bangladesh football team prevailed at Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday when the hosts took on Thailand in the second semifinal of the Bangabandhu Gold Cup.
Talking about scarcity of spectators in the football stadium is a common subject in the sports arena but it was a completely different day yesterday. For the first time since the Super Cup final in 2009, the big bowl was packed to the rafters. Thousands of ticket-deprived fans watched the game in the big screen situated at the east side of the gallery outside the venue.
Bangladesh Football Federation priced the tickets of the semifinals at Tk80 and 150 and all the tickets were sold out. In the black market, prices soared up almost double and triple of the original amount. Football’s regulatory body in the country distributed 10,000 green and red scarfs among the spectators. Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, chairman of the tournament’s organising committee, witnessed the whole game alongside Deputy Sports Minister Arif Khan Joy and BFF president Kazi Salahuddin. All of the distinguished guests tied the scarves around their necks during the game.
The reaction of the crowd was also notable. They cheered the team, booed the referee for any decision that went against the home team. The red and green waves in the stands, created due to the scarfs, also provided an eye-catching scenario.
The crowd exploded into wild celebrations when Nasir Uddin Chowdhury slammed in the winner in the 40th minute. The roars and excitement seemed to reach a sky-high level. The whole stadium was celebrating the joyous moment. It was a precious moment indeed as the Bangladesh football team have rarely provided moments like this in recent years.
The Bangladesh players were also thankful to them. Amidst a standing ovation, they performed a lap of honour with the national colour following the end of the game. All the spectators were cheering their heroes and skipper Mamunul Islam thanked them for such an overwhelming response in the post-match presser.