Earlier this month, Tahseen Alam Priyo became the first Bangladeshi to sign for a Spanish football academy when he joined FC Malaga City Academy in Malaga, a city in southern Spain. Student of Class 12 at Scholastica school, the 19-year old right winger has been registered to train and play for the academy for the 2020-21 season.
In a short conversation over email with SHOUT, Tahseen spoke about the opportunity to train at the highest level and his new life in Spain.
Tahseen, take us through your footballing days in school.
Representing one's institution in various inter-school football tournaments is one of the best things that can ever happen to a student who dreams of football all day long. From when I was in Class 6, I started representing my school team with several other talented players. The hype around inter-school football was real, and slowly but steadily, my work on the pitch made everyone acknowledge my talent.
Fast forward to the present, I have won numerous trophies and individual awards for my school team. It was all possible because I was blessed with extremely talented teammates, who are my friends as well. There are many coaches who helped me develop both as a player and as a human being but I would like to name four people who had a significant impact on me. Firoj sir, Yousuf sir, Mansur sir, and last but not the least, former national team player Faisal sir. I hope when I graduate I can be remembered both as a good person and a good player.
How did this connection between you and the academy take place? How did they reach out to you?
It actually happened the other way around. I was the one who contacted the club through email and applied by sending them a video which highlighted my football skills. Fortunately for me, they liked my playing style and offered to train with them for a season. This is not a professional or paid contract, so I really hope I can make the most of it here.
How did you feel when you were offered to train and play in an international academy? How did your friends and family react?
To be honest, the feeling was out of this world. I thought to myself that maybe, finally, I will get the opportunity to express myself through football in Europe. This does not guarantee a path to becoming a professional footballer; everything is still very uncertain. All I can do now is to give my all every day.
My friends were even happier than I was. They had all believed since day one that I deserved to pursue my dreams in a footballing nation. On the other hand, as much as my parents supported me, they were extremely worried as well. It would be difficult for me to leave my family and fight for my dreams. However, they decided that I deserved a chance to pursue my passion for football. It is safe to say that I am blessed by the Almighty with such loving, supportive and understanding parents.
What does your daily life look like now?
My daily life in Malaga is pretty strenuous. I have to wake up at 7 AM sharp or else there is a high chance that I might miss the team breakfast. My parents want me to continue my school's online classes so I try my best to attend those after breakfast. I have intense training from 12 noon to 3 PM. Sometimes it rains, sometimes it is freezing cold, but that does not stop anyone from working hard each day on the pitch. After training the players have lunch at the club's restaurant. In the evening we have Spanish lessons for two hours followed by dinner. Then I come back to my room, tired. I have no option but to rest and be ready for the next day.
What do you plan to achieve through this opportunity?
I plan to bring out the best version of myself, both as a player and as a person. I really do not know how far I will go or if I will really become a professional footballer but I want to fight for my dreams. Each day is a new challenge to make myself better. There is so much I can learn here from these experienced, high profile UEFA-licensed coaches! But I really do hope I can find the right opportunity to pursue football as a career here.
Which is your favourite football club? Which players do you look up to?
My favourite football club is FC Barcelona. I have been a fan of this historic club since the 2008-09 season. There is only one player that I look up to, he is the reason I fell in love with this beautiful game, he is the reason I believe in miracles and he is the reason why I will continue to strive for my dreams. It's none other than the greatest player to ever grace a football pitch, Lionel Messi.
What message do you have for anyone who wants to follow in your footsteps?
All I can say is that everyone should enjoy the game as much as they can. The more you love and enjoy the game, the better you get, and that is a fact.