Metro Express Barisal missed out on reaching the finals of the first season of Franchise Hockey League by losing to Monarch Padma. But Metro Express Barisal goalkeeper Asim Gop went to Maulana Bhasani Stadium to watch the final on November 17. Asim Gop, one of the top goalkeepers in Bangladesh, still couldn’t believe it when the host announced the name of the league’s best goalkeeper just before the champions ACM Chittagong players took the trophy. But soon after, thrilled Asim went on stage and took the award.
In 2012, Asim made his debut in the national team with the World Hockey League in Singapore. Since then, he has played in the national team for seven consecutive years. Last played in Thailand in 2019, Indoor Asia Cup. Didn’t get a chance after that. Asim’s misfortune began in October 2021. Almost three years later, the Premier Hockey League did not receive any teams. Basically, the goalkeeper of the Bangladesh Navy could not be named in any team because of the quota.
According to the rules, a club can take a maximum of five players from the services organization in the Premier Hockey League. Mohammedan also offered to take Asim. But in the end, as the quota was filled, the black and white could no longer take him. Asim did not have a chance to go to another team because of the remuneration from Mohammedan. He is forced to sit as a spectator in the entire league.
As he could not play in the Premier League, the selectors of the Bangladesh Hockey Federation did not consider him in the next international tournaments. Consequently, Asim was left out of the team for the Asian Champions Trophy held in Dhaka in December 2021. After that, he did not get a call for the AHF Cup (Asian Hockey Federation) held in Indonesia in March this year, the Asian Games qualifiers in Thailand in May and the Asia Cup held in Indonesia in June.
Due to the repeated closure of the door of the national team, the thought of retirement came to Asim’s mind. Worried about fitness while off the field. To survive the franchise hockey league player drafts, he had to pass the beep test. After the beep test, Asim was listed as a plus category player.
Even though the league started, there was doubt whether he would be played in the first match or not. In the end, Walton proved that he is not finished by saving 8 penalty corners in the first match against Dhaka. Since then, Asim has played in every match and has shown good skills and finally won the league’s best goalkeeper award. National team goalkeeper Biplab Kujur, Abu Saeed, experienced Zahid Hossain removed the most eye-catching Asim in the tournament.
He worked hard to get himself back. That’s what Asim was saying, ‘The day before the start of the franchise league, I didn’t know whether I would be able to play or not. Even after the regular practice of the Navy, I used to run for a separate hour in the quarter field every evening. My goal was to get myself back in this franchise league.
Since the start of franchise hockey league on October 28, Asim did not eat any rice in the camp to keep himself fit. Eat only vegetables, salad and other nutritious food. I did everything I could to stay fit. I got that award too.
SA Games may be held in Pakistan next year. And Asim wants to return to the Bangladesh national team again with those games, ‘I was very upset after being excluded from the national team trial. I have been waiting for the opportunity for so long. I am very happy with the way I have performed in this league. Hopefully, I can return to the national team again.