‘I like Bangladeshi culture’
"I like Shuvo Noboborsho [Bengali New Year]. I think it is unique and special the way it is celebrated all over country," Nigeria-born footballer Eleta Kingsley said as he was reacting to receiving his Bangladesh passport on Wednesday.
After coming to Bangladesh in 2011 and marrying Liza Jafar in 2012 just one-and-half months into their relationship, Kingsley has time and again praised the friendly nature of Bangladeshis.
There may be many reasons for him to choose to live away from Nigeria, but it his love for Bengali culture, especially Bengali New Year, that has carved out a special place in his heart.
"To me, the celebration of Nobobarsha looks like Eid day. Every country has some special culture in Asia and I like Bangladeshi culture," Kingsley told The Daily Star yesterday.
Upon receiving the Bangladeshi passport from the president of Bashundhara Kings, Kingsley however ecstatic as his long wait was finally over and now he can go ahead with his dream of playing football for Kings and the Bangladesh national team.
Kingsley was awarded Bangladeshi citizenship in March and since then has been waiting to be eligible for domestic competitions as a local player. Now he has fulfilled the basic criteria and can play domestic competitions as the first naturalised Bangladeshi citizen.
"I feel very, very good and happy after receiving the Bangladeshi passport. I celebrated this moment with my family members," he said, adding: "I can't wait to represent the Bashundhara Kings. I have been with them for a long time and I'm very excited to come back."
Kingsley's availability has also led many to believe that the goal-scoring problem in the national team can be solved if he is called up.
"Of course, I want to represent Bangladesh at international level. I can't tell you that I'm very confident because the national team have a lot of good players, who are playing in top clubs. I respect every player playing for the national team. We all have to fight together to make it a team. We can do more than we can individually and make a difference," said Kingsley.
"The most important thing is the formation you want to play. I think it is very important for the national team. If we all put it together, the problem would be solved," said a confident Kingsley, who became the most valuable player of the inaugural Sheikh Kamal International Club tournament in Chattogram after scoring five goals.
Although Kingsley is now eligible for domestic competitions, he still needs to clear some formalities to play international matches either for the club or the Bangladesh national football team.