The annual income of a top level cricketer in Bangladesh crossed crores long ago. The remuneration of some of the top footballers also reaches crores a year.
But the annual income of a top level hockey player in Bangladesh is not at all telling. The income of hockey players is Premier League. That league is not regular. If there is a league in three years and a national team player in that league gets five lakh rupees, how much does it cost in an average year? Not even two lakhs.
Still, hockey players are happy with what they get. The reshuffle of the Bangladesh Premier Hockey League, which is about to begin on January 31 after 28 months, is like Eid-Anand for some of the hockey players. Some players are smiling. Getting calls from the clubs, bargaining themselves.
In the meantime, Abahani Limited has cleaned up the house first. The Blues have picked up some of the country’s top players. The biggest name in that list is the essential defender of the national team, Ashraful Islam.
Ashraful is known as the country’s best penalty corner specialist. In the first franchise hockey league held in Dhaka in late 2022, his goals were the highest among local players with 12. Arguably according to many, Ashraful is the best hockey player in the country right now.
Ashraful played for Mohammedan in the last Premier League held in 2021. This time too the whites wanted to keep him. But in the end he couldn’t. It is reported that Ashraful is getting the highest salary so far among the locals.
Ashraful told Prothom Alo about his remuneration, “I received 8.5 lakh taka from Mohammedan in the last league. That was the highest salary last year. I don’t know exactly how much someone else is getting. But I can say for myself, I am going for 10 lakhs in Abahani. All final.’
When Abahani club officials were asked about this, he refused to say anything about it. However, he said that today he came to the hockey stadium with Ashraful and took the token to himself today.
Ashraful played in Dhaka League (Mariners) for the first time in 2012 as a student of BKSP for 29 thousand 500 taka. Remuneration has increased over time. Ashraful is very happy with this, “Hockey players don’t ask for much.” We want the league to be regular. But because it is not, we suffer. Where footballers or cricketers don’t get time off to play year-round, there has been only one hockey league in the last 5 years. In fact, without the league, the players have no bread. In the league, the players see some money.
Why did Mohammedan leave? In response to this question, Ashraful said, “Mohammedan wanted to keep me.” One of the club’s officials told me, “Take as much money as you need.” But this time I promise Abahani before Mohammedan.’
Ashraful is going to play his sixth league in his 11-year domestic career. Played in Abahani earlier in 2014 and 2018. He played for the Mariners in 2012 and 2016.