Tanveer Muzhar Islam commonly known as Tanna is a famous sports organizer of Bangladesh and the son of legend architect Muzhar UL Islam. He was the Manager, Bangladesh Football Team During the War of Liberation 1971. He is a founder member of AbahaniKrira Chakra and director since 1991 to current, Treasurer Bangladesh Snooker and Billiards Federation from 1991 to 2001, Manager Bangladesh Cricket Team to the World Cup held in England in 1999, Manager Bangladesh Cricket Team to the ICC Trophy in Holland in 1997, Elected Senior Vice President of Bangladesh Cricket Board in 1997 to 2002, Honorary Secretary Asian Cricket Conference from 1990 to 1991, Honorary General Secretary Bangladesh Cricket Control Board from 1987 to 1991, Honorary General Secretary AbahaniKrira Chakra from1985 to 1986, Played for Bangladesh Cricket Team against Sri Lanka in 1979, Elected Vice President, IBA , Dhaka University, 1973- 1974, Captain Dhaka University Cricket Team in 1973- 1974, and Played for East Pakistan Cricket Team in Quaid e Azam Trophy and Ayub Trophy in 1969 to 1971. President, 1999 to 2004 , Ocean Bangladesh Corporation, Houston, Texas, Vice President and General Manager , 1997 to 1999 , UMC Bangladesh, Corporation, Houston, Texas, Consultant (1991 to 1997) UMC Bangladesh Corporation, a Delaware Oil and Gas Exploration Company based in Houston, Consultant (1977 to 1981) Lockheed, Mitsubishi, KinshoMataichi, Dhaka and Director, 1972 to Current, Vastukalabid, Dhaka. He gave an interview for The Pages where he spoke out both of his professional and personal life.
You were the manager of the Shadhin Bangla Football Team. Please let us know in brief the formation of this football team and why did you form this team?
TanveerMuzhar Islam: I was fighting under Captain ShafiatJameal East Bengal Regiment in the border of Dinajpur. When a letter came from our Government of Bangladesh 1971 (Mujibnagar), that I’ve to become the manager of Bangladesh Football Team. The then Bangladesh Government wanted to spread the news of Bangladeshis fighting for Independence. The best Bengal footballers joined the War of Independence.
What was the contribution of the Shadhin Bangla Football Team in our liberation war?
TanveerMuzhar Islam: actually during the liberation war, there was no media coverage like now ( email, facebook, mobile phones, computers, etc.) The whole world didn’t know what was happening in Bangladesh. Therefore the Mujibnagar Government wanted us to play football all over India and explain the Pakistani armies genocide. Most of us who ran away to fight or became refugees were Muslims. About one crore people had to run across the border, 90% was Muslim and the rest of other religion. The Pakistanis have been telling the whole world that only the Hindu’s have run over to India. Our football team’s job was to introduce Bangladesh to the world by playing football in front of ten thousand of people that Bangladeshis were fighting for Independence. We wanted to bring end the oppression done by Pakistan. We played our first match in Krishnanagar and the whole stadium was full of crowds. We played 17 matches in 17
different places flying our national flag that was illegal. That why Krishnanagar got FIFA suspension. Later they introduced our next matches by different names. It was our achievements that we had all the national players and we made them realize that there were no sports in Dhaka. They also realized that people are being killed all over the then East Pakistan.
Foreigners didn’t know anything as the Pakistani government hadn’t let them enter into Bangladesh. Also, there were no such digital facilities at that time to let the people aware of what was happening here in Bangladesh. So we’d to do all those things to let them know about the real situation. They gave us free accommodation and we got about 1212500tk from gate money which we donated for the Mujibnagar Government. We stopped all the sports in Dhaka and took all the national players who were in the Pakistan team. You were one of the bosom friends of Sheikh Kamal. We want to know your personal evaluation of Sheikh Kamal.
TanveerMuzhar Islam: I became intimate with Kamal since 1964. We used to play together in the Dhanmondi club. We became class friends in 1966 in Shaheenschool during classes nine and ten. We also studied together in Dhaka Shaheen College. He was a good student and a good player too whether it is basketball, cricket or football. We played cricket together. He was one of the best basketball players and above all, he was a very good person.
Please let us know in brief about the formation of Dhaka Abahani Ltd?
TanveerMuzhar Islam: During the War of Liberation, SK.
Kamal was a Lieutenant in the MuktiFouj Army. He was the ADC to General Osmani. I met him many times in his office. We discussed forming a club in Dhaka with football, cricket, and hockey teams. After Liberation and the Birth of Bangladesh, SK. Kamal talked with Muzzafar Hossain Poltu about acquiring a football team to play First Division football team in Dhaka. Poltubhai then introduced us to the officials of the Iqbal Sporting Club. We bought the club and formed Abahani KC. Later we bought IshpahaniSoc and formed our cricket and hockey team in 1972.
Sheikh Kamal was also an organizer of MuktiBahini and he worked as the ADC of General Osmani. How do you evaluate his role in the Liberation war?
TanveerMuzhar Islam: SK. Kamal was involved in student politics since he was very young. His father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman during Kamal’s schooling days was mostly in jail. Therefore, he always got involved in politics. His ambition was to break away from Pakistan. During the Liberation War, he joined the first batch of Bengalis to be trained by the Army. He passed out successfully and became 2nd Lieutenant of the Bangladesh Army. He was posted as an ADC to Chief of the Bangladesh Army War of Liberation.
You are one of the famous sports organizers of the country and selected as the president of Bangladesh KriraSamity. What do you plan to motivate sports?
TanveerMuzhar Islam: I started to play cricket when I was young. I also played cricket for East Pakistan. I’m one of the founders of AbahaniKrira Chakra. I took the responsibilities of different types of sports organizations many times. I was the manager of the Bangladesh cricket team in the 1999 world cup. I was the manager of the Bangladesh football team during the Liberation War. I was also the treasurer of the Bangladesh Snooker and Billiard federation for ten years. As an organizer of Bangladesh sports, I find a lack of money is the basic problem of our sports. Once every schools and college have their own sporting team. Sports will not develop if we don’t develop those teams in school and college levels. That is the future and we’ve to hold more sports at every level. Otherwise, sports will not develop. So the government should come forward. Things will definitely improve.
Is it possible to win World Cup Cricket with this present team?
TanveerMuzhar Islam: It’s quite difficult but not impossible. Our team is one of the best teams in the world. But BCB should be free from politics. Many new players get entry but in no circumstances, you can’t experiment with new players against New Zealand. You can experiment against Afghanistan or Zimbabwe. There is huge difference between test matches and ODIs and there is no place for personal dislike. The same things happened in the case of India and Sri Lanka tours. The selection team decided to test some new players who’re not qualified for those levels.
Please let us know about the young generation who want to come to cricket.
TanveerMuzhar Islam: There are many good players. Recently we’ve found Miraj and Mustafiz who are really good players. And our team is really in a very good position. If there is no politics in our team, it will be as good as other teams in the world. Winning world cup needs favor of luck. However, we can also win as we have a balanced team.
How do we coordinate sports and education?
TanveerMuzhar Islam: I always suggest to give extra money to the education ministry. Our finance minister was a very good player and he usually makes big budgets. What harm will happen if he pays 400/500crore money to the education ministry? If there is a sports teacher in every school, students will be motivated to sports more. Students are getting spoiled due to a lack of sports. If you invest money, our sports will be benefitted. Good coaches and trainers aren’t possible without a big budget. Some federations have no enough money. So why do you not pay? Education and sports should get more focus in the budget. A combination of these two things can bring a good results for Bangladesh and every genre of sports will be benefited from it.