At a glance, the Sylhet Bangladesh Krira Shikkha Protisthan (BKSP), just 11 kilometers from the downtown and on the highway bypass road of North Sylhet, appears calm and quiet like its Savar's headquarter, giving an impression that this is the right place to groom athletes.
A four-story administrative building stands on the right-hand side of the entrance and that pale building follows another four-story worn-out students' dormitory, a tarnished gymnasium and a rusty swimming pool before the boundary on the north side with another four-story staff building.
Opposite to the administrative and dormitory building, there are two big grounds -- one for football and another for cricket which were supposed to be full of action with the presence of budding athletes. However, that is not the case for the Sylhet BKSP, which was established in 2005.
The institute came to some life in April last year due to the activities of 33 budding footballers after the Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) suspended the activities of the BFF Academy, having run it for only eight months (Nov 2014 – June 2015) out of its five-year contract from 2012 to 2016.
After training in the calm and quiet environment, the Bangladesh under-16 team, comprising mostly players from the BFF Academy, clinched the SAFF U-16 Championship to justify BFF's decision to run the academy.
BFF Academy-grown right-back Bishwanath Ghosh and winger Rabiul Hasan are now representing the national team in the ongoing Bangabandhu Gold Cup while another of the academy players, Saad Uddin, missed the squad due to a motorbike-accident.
Although it has been a long demand from all quarters to have a full-fledged football academy to meet the increasing demand of quality footballers, the local game's governing body wrapped up its activities under the FIFA Goal project to frustrate all quarters.
Now the authorities of BKSP are running their own programme at its Sylhet branch by picking 33 footballers from across the country but the effort of producing comparatively good footballers seems to be going in vain due to lack of facilities at the institute.
The football ground is still uneven and does not even have proper grasses. The ground even turns unusable from heavy shower, forcing the players to have indoor training at the gymnasium.
The gymnasium is totally empty, not having a single dumbbell to maintain the fitness or build muscles to fight on the ground as the players depend on only stretching to keep themselves fit and gather strength.
Swimming is now an important component for athletes of any disciplines but there is no water at the swimming pool, which is full of dust and broken tiles instead of water.
Sylhet BKSP's deputy director (in charge) Shahinul Haque informed that there are 30 footballers at the moment and 19 BKSP staff including himself are taking care of those footballers.
“As we started afresh, there may be some problems but we have been doing well with the boys. The central authority of BKSP is planning to change things and everything will be solved after the plan is approved," said AFC A licensed coach Haque, who added that the swimming pool was property of the National Sports Council (NSC).
"As far as I know an astro-turf will be installed here to avoid water clogging while the gymnasium will be well-equipped soon."