Badal Roy is no more. One of biggest icons of the country's football history, Roy died at a city hospital yesterday. He was 62.
He was suffering from liver cancer.
His untimely departure has cast a pal of gloom in the sports fraternity. But amid grief and sorrow, it is also about time to celebrate a sporting hero who devoted all his energy for the betterment of country's sport. He was one of the finest strikers, a true gentleman and a pioneer of promoting football at grassroots level.
But probably he will be best remembered as a true Mohammedan. He made his debut for Mohammedan Sporting Club in 1977 and retired from the famous Motijheel-based club after entertaining the fans for close to two decades, sporting that revered Black and White shirt.
Roy is one of the few footballers whose loyalty for the club as a player, as an organiser till the last breath of his life was unmistakable. His peers in the '80s and early '90s, when football was a daily doze of entertainment, has no doubt about that. He was a Mohammedan from tip to toe.
His love for the club was undiminished even in recent times, when some officials of the club were embroiled in casino scandal. He was one of those who tried to revive the battered image of the club, once revered as one of two most followed sporting outfits alongside Abahani.
He led Mohammedan to hattrick of titles in the Dhaka League in 1986. He has always been an inspirational leader for his teammates, be it at club level or for the national team. He was uncompromising when it came down to winning a game. But he was also the best friend of his rivals off the field.
A footballer from Cumilla, Roy has always been vocal in taking the game at the grassroots level to revive the lost glory of country's football. He believed that it was the only way of making the game popular again and the only way of finding quality player for the future.
Roy contested for the BFF presidency last month more out of frustration, with country's football still in a bad shape. He also tried to pull his beloved club out of the mire. All his efforts were to bring the glory days back, he was once part of.
He left us trying. The onus is on us to follow his uncompromising path.