The Daily Star (DS): How do you feel about the upcoming transfers?
Nazmul Islam Rasel (NIR): Alhamdulillah, it is a big thing that football, which is our bread and butter, is getting back on the field after a long gap. From that perspective, we are all happy but we are also bearing the pain of getting just 35 percent payment due to the pandemic.
DS: How have you taken the matter of the 35 percent payment and do you think it will have any impact on a majority of the players?
NIR: As we play football, we have to accept it. Only a few national players are offered good pay, ranging between Tk 40 lakh and Tk 50 lakh per season but most players receive much less. We should think of how upcoming players will bear their expenses with just 35 percent, which I think will be less for us.
DS: Will the players have to make any adjustment with payment this season?
NIR: In the Bangladesh perspective, the players have to adjust because a majority of footballers are not paid well, and now they have to make do with just 35 percent of their pay. So they can't contribute to their families like they used to. They also have to compromise on sporting gear. Suppose a player needs five pairs of boots... now they have to rely on two to three pairs, which costs nearly Tk 25,000 per pair. Besides, a player also needs additional food and gym facilities but they have to compromise with those as well.
DS: Are you satisfied being a professional footballer?
NIR: I started playing professional football in 2011 with a salary of Tk 5 lakh per season and that had risen to Tk 25 lakh in 2019. I am really happy about my career. I think anyone can take up football as a profession but those who want to be footballers in the future have to work hard to reach a certain stage.
DS: How have you been spending time during the pandemic? Do you have any idea about other players' work plans during the pandemic?
NIR: I have been doing an individual training plan, prepared by national team's head coach Jamie Day and followed it at home during lockdown because we were not allowed to practise at the district stadium or the gymnasium. Players who were outside the national team tried to resume practice after lockdown lifted.
DS: Is the upcoming season going to be challenging for players,who were out of action for seven months?
NIR: We will of course face a challenge because players are not fully physically fit and they need more time to get fit this time around. I think the standard of play will gradually improve as the season progresses.
DS: What do players want from the clubs to prevent transmission of covid-19?
NIR: More or less everyone is worried about covid-19, but we have to play football in this situation and we have to be cautious. We want clubs to ensure a good training and accommodation environment by enforcing strict health guidelines.