Fri. Sep 22nd, 2023
Coach Fazlul Islam

The narrow road goes straight from in front of the old central jail on Nazimuddin Road in Old Dhaka. Begombazar street is a little further ahead. The bottom of every house in this street is painted pink.

At the head of the lane, an atmosphere of play is felt as soon as you step into Mia Lane’s house, a minor number 8. What a monument of hockey hanging on the wall of the ground floor of the dilapidated two-storey house! Somewhere in this house of Fazlul Islam, the well-known coach of Bangladesh’s hockey grassroots, there are some old souvenirs of hockey, somewhere there are framed certificates hanging, hockey stick-ball-shoes lying somewhere. And once you can go up to the roof of the house, there will be no end of surprises.

No, minor Mia Lane’s house doesn’t have a green rooftop garden. Although roof means roof garden, but Fazlul Islam’s blue painted roof is mind-blowing for roof-hockey. Yes, he has made a small ‘hockey field’ on the roof! How deep a man’s love for hockey is, this is possible!

Playing hockey is part of the tradition of old Dhaka. Hockey coach Fazlul Islam, known as ‘Fazlul Islam‘, used to coach at Armanitola School Ground, the home of hockey in Bangladesh. He used to make the local boys practice there. When the youngsters left the field during the Corona period and entered the house, Fazlul Islam thought that something alternative should be done. From that thought, the arrangement of hockey practice on the roof of his house. Fazlul Islam made the small boys of the area practice there with care. The work of making future hockey players has continued even in Corona.

Last Tuesday afternoon, while teaching hockey skills to students, Fazlu was standing on the rooftop hockey ‘field’ and told this reporter, ‘I am the person who wakes up every morning and goes to the field. I went down to practice with the boys. But at the beginning of Corona, there was no more time to sit at home, the boys’ practice also stopped. All in all, I felt suffocated. It suddenly occurred to me, I can do something on the roof of the house!

From that idea, Fazlul Islam created the atmosphere of the hockey field by cleaning the roof of the house. First, he started practicing with the children of the family in the afternoon. After that, he brought the small boys of the area and dropped them in hockey practice according to the hygiene rules. Seeing Fazlul Islam’s hockey lessons, the interest of others gradually increased.

Fazlul Islam has painted the 24 feet long and 14 feet wide roof floor in blue color to bring the atmosphere of the hockey field. Golbar painted the wall with paint. Make the kids feel like they are practicing on the hockey field. To show these things, Fazlu was saying, ‘I drew the goal post in such a way that the children think it is a real post of the stadium. I like being able to practice here. Children are improving. Even if they play here, they will play in the national team one day, that is my dream.

One of Fazlul Islam’s young roof-hockey players has a daughter. In all, the team of seven-eight people practices every day. If nothing else, it’s better to lie on the roof with a stick-ball than to sit at home in Corona! It is also a lot of fun for kids.

At this age, their stick work will also impress anyone. Seven-year-old Wasim Akbar showed his stick craft and said about his dream, ‘I want to be like Kamal bhai and Jimmy uncle.’ Like countless other players, these two star players are also made by coach Fazlul Islam. Generation after generation he has been producing players without calculating ‘what I got’.

Who knows, with the constant efforts of Fazlul Islam, one day maybe a future star will emerge from his roof-hockey!