Monday, 6 February, 2023

Unifying spirit of games and sports

It is now a part of history that Lionel Messi’s Argentina grabbed the trophy in the FIFA World Cup 2022 beating Kylian Mbappe’s France in the final match on Sunday. We congratulate the champion and the runner-up and extend our heartiest felicitations to all other teams that vied for the highly coveted prize in a friendly and sportsmanship manner, kept the world people captivated for a whole month. Football fans around the globe including Bangladesh also deserve thanks for their whole hearted support to making the tournament a success.

FIFA World Cup, held on a quadrennial basis involving 32 nations from across the globe, is the second greatest and the most prestigious sporting event after Olympics but occupies the highest position in terms of the number of fans. Millions of football lovers including men, women and children – with their eyes glued to TV screens – turn every match into an event of festivity and enjoy the game to their hearts content, forgetting drudgeries of everyday life.

This can happen because of the unifying spirit of games and sports in general, football in particular. Other than some stray incidents, supporters of a particular team are found for the time being to shelve whatever petty differences they may have and enjoy each game together. This is particularly true in case of football fans in Bangladesh. Every time the global championship is held, football fans across political and social divides come under the same banner to lend support to the respective teams, bursting out in boundless joy with every bit of success or being full of remorse with failure of their team.

Overwhelming majority of the football fans in Bangladesh are supporters of Argentina, a country separated from us by oceans and continents. Their spontaneous support and emotional regard for the Argentine players has made Bangladesh an almost household name in that far off land and brought the people of these two countries closer. Even families there are found to hoist Bangladesh’s red-green flags alongside their own. But, regrettably, political forces in Bangladesh have failed to take lesson from the unifying spirit of sports; they cannot come to a common stance even on national issues of vital importance. They seem to have developed a sort of bitterness, and even enmity, among themselves. Let this strong unifying force of sports help them put aside their differences and close their ranks for the greater interests of the nation.