The Financial Express

Foreign footballer turns Bangladeshi: Kingsley makes history

Foreign footballer turns Bangladeshi: Kingsley makes history

On June 26, Eleta Kingsley started for Bashundhara Kings as Bangladesh Premier League resumed after a break. After almost 14 months he played a professional football match, making his debut for the new giants of Bangladesh football, Bashundhara Kings.

Kingsley has been a regular feature in Bangladesh’s domestic arena for the last 10 years – sometimes in Arambagh jersey and sometimes in BJMC jersey. He was the highest goal scorer of the last campaign. The grass of Bangabandhu National Stadium is used to being trodden by his boots.

Yet, it was something unique for him, for the audience and everyone relevant to Bangladesh football on the day last month he entered the field wearing the no 20 jersey of Bashundhara kings because that was his debut as a Bangladeshi player as well.

From that game onward, Kingsley’s name in the team sheet won’t contain a foreigner sign anymore as he earned Bangladeshi nationality recently. And thus, history has been made. For the first time ever, a foreign player has been featured as a Bangladeshi player in the history of our domestic football. It was a day all the football lovers waited for dearly because this particular event could probably be the opening of a new era in our football. 

Over the years, many foreign players have dominated the domestic circuit. Among them are Emeca, Bukola, Ibrahim, Sony Norde, Wedson, Sunday, Colindres, Raul Bessera. Every time we saw them dominating the game, we dearly wished for them to play for us. And Kingsley has finally fulfilled that.

Despite the fact that he started a professional football after 14 months, there was no indication to support it. He was so energetic and athletic from the very beginning as he always is, threatened the defence like he always does, and eventually scored his first goal as a Bangladeshi player. Playing for 59 minutes, he definitely was instrumental for the win proving he might be ready for national team action and provide the spark which has been severely missing for the Bangladesh team in the final third of the field as ever.

On debuting as a Bangladeshi player, Kingsley helped his team win. He could have easily got his hat-trick but the rustiness didn’t allow him to, of which his regret was very evident in the post-match interviews. Through this win, Bashundhara Kings are now another step closer to the championship, standing firm in the top spot with a mammoth 13-point lead.

Kingsley being on the wrong side of 30 (31) might be something of a concern for us. His energy is deteriorating. Still, he definitely is better than the lot we have. He perfectly understands that the position in Bangladesh National Team is up for grabs but it should no way be taken for granted. And his determination to fight for that position is quite evident too in his words.

Will this turn of events in his life be good for him and Bangladesh team?  Anyone’s guess to this question right now might be as good as mine, and so let’s let the time answer this.

Ahnaf Wazed Khan has completed HSC from Dhaka Residential Model College.

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