According to Kazi Salahuddin, the president of the Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF), Paul Smalley is primarily responsible for the achievements of the women’s football team as a result of his work as the technical director. He also stated that the unexpected retirement of Golam Rabbani Choton is a setback, but that the long-serving head coach is not irreplaceable despite this fact.
The following was remarked by the president of the BFF in response to a report that was printed in the edition of The Daily Star dated May 28 and captioned ‘Wheels finally come off.’ The president of the BFF stated that “wheels are not falling off at all” in his rebuttal to the news.
Salahuddin reported yesterday that he had spoken with Choton earlier that day and that he had informed him that he would not be changing his position. “Choton had the opportunity to discuss his concerns with me if he was having any. I believe that he deliberately picked this time, when the BFF is in a difficult position, to smear both myself and my organization.
“Choton is a person who is truthful and works very hard. However, he is not an irreplaceable asset. Paul Smalley cannot be replaced. Period. If Smalley decides to step down today, it will be the end of women’s football.
“I’m not trying to take credit away from Choton and others, but Smalley’s dedication is what led to the success of the women’s football team. It is he who is constantly nagging me about enhancing the training facilities for the female football players. According to the opinion expressed by the 69-year-old man, “I can bet that women’s football will not win a trophy in a year if I remove him from that position or replace him with a local coach.”
The Englishman Smalley has been working with different elements of Bangladesh football, with a particular emphasis on women’s football teams, since before he was named as the technical director of the BFF in 2016. Prior to that, he spent one year as the manager of the Brunei football team. Smalley was given the position of technical director of the BFF in 2016.
Smalley is said to receive a monthly income of 16,000 dollars after taxes, according to a spokeswoman for the BFF. He is also said to have allegedly secured a sizeable rise in recent weeks while still under contract, with his current one continuing until August of 2024.
When Salahuddin was asked whether Smalley receives a wage that is proportionately greater than that of BFF’s other coaches, he responded by stating that “Smalley more than deserves what he gets.”
This new turn of events occurs at a time when the members of the women’s squad have already held two protests at the camp in order to seek an increase in salary and an upgrade in the general facilities, but they have only received assurances and nothing more tangible than promises.
Since the senior team’s victory in the SAFF Women’s Championship in September of the previous year, they have not participated in any competitive matches. In contrast, their Indian counterparts have participated in five international friendlies since the SAFF Championship and up until the Olympics qualifiers. The Bangladesh Football Federation withdrew the Bangladesh women’s team from the Olympics qualifiers due to financial constraints.
In addition, Sabina Khatun and her teammates had no choice but to turn down offers from the Indian league since they were enticed by the possibility of playing in the Women’s Super League in Bangladesh, which is still a long way from being a reality.
Salahuddin stated that he is helpless in relation to the demands of the players. He cited a lack of cash and a lack of interest from sponsors as the reasons for this. Salahuddin did not have any reservations about increasing Smalley’s pay.
Regarding the retirement of Sirat Jahan Swapna and the impending departure of Akhi Khatun from the camp, Salahuddin stated that he anticipated more players to leave, but not due to money considerations but rather for personal and societal difficulties.
“Akhi [Khatun] will be traveling to China for issues related to his personal life. “I’m sure that Swapna’s departure has something to do with her personally as well,” Salahuddin said in his opinion. These ladies are between 22 and 23 years old. When they reach this age, they may decide to leave because of the pressure to be married. Others will step in to fill the hole left by them.