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A Dane in green and red

Jamal Bhuyan (6) in a characteristic tackle.

Jamal Bhuyan (26) was born in the Danish town of Glostrup, not far from Copenhagen in 1990. He grew up in the suburb of Brøndby Nord, where his career started. His parents came to Denmark from Bangladesh in the late sixties and his father owned a small grocery store in the city. At the age of 15 Jamal was already a promising young player who was playing for Danish outfit Brøndby IF. He scored a wonder goal in an important match against fierce rivals FC Copenhagen (FCK). After the match the coach of FCK met him and offered him a place in the team. He accepted the offer and he considers it a step in the right direction in his football career.


 Jamal in a game for Danish outfit FC Copenhagen.

After three years in Bangladesh, the defensive midfielder still enjoys life in Dhaka but Denmark is home. “I have my family and friends in Copenhagen so of course they are missed but I have had some amazing experiences here, and it’s nice to see where my parents come from,” Jamal says.

Bangladesh football has a lot of potential
After his first game for Bangladesh – a loss against Nepal in 2013 – Dhaka Tribune wrote: “Jamal did his best to inspire the team as he carried out his defensive role while trying to communicate to the players upfront as well. He seemed to have the stamina to run non-stop for 90 minutes and never paused for breath in the game.”

Now, with 38 caps under his belt for the Bangladeshi national team and a National Championship with Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi, Jamal Bhuyan has achieved more than most of his former Danish teammates. Bangladesh finished last in the World Cup qualifier group but that misrepresents the team’s ability, he says: “We are better than that. Last time we didn’t have as long a preparation period as the other teams. Next time we will show up well prepared as a more united team. We have a good coach so I’m confident,” Jamal says. Bangladesh football is different from how the game is played in Denmark where it is the main sport of the country, whereas cricket rules in Bangladesh. Jamal admits that the level in Denmark is higher but he thinks Bangladesh football is underestimated abroad. “Football here has a lot to gain, but there is a good potential and a lot of talented players. Bangladesh football is not to be underestimated,” Jamal stresses. He recently transferred from Sheikh Jamal to Sheikh Russel and he points out that more and more foreign players come to play in the Bangladesh Premier League. That can “advance the level even further”.


 Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi celebrates the Bangladesh National Championship. Jamal is number 12.

During his three years with the Bangladesh national squad he has played against big football nations such as Japan, South Korea and Australia. “You learn a lot from playing against the likes of Keisuke Honda (Japan) Tim Cahil (Australia) and Ji-Sung Park (South Korea). Ji-Sung Park is a running machine and a world class player even though he’s older now,” he says.

An advocate for education
It is not only on the football pitch that Jamal has set his mark. As a volunteer teacher for the international NGO ‘Save the Children’ he teaches kids in the importance of education. “School is important but not everybody in Bangladesh has the means to send their kids to school. But in many cases sports are free and sport can teach you a lot about morale, discipline and good behaviour, so that’s the message I’m trying to convey to the kids” Jamal explains. The vice-captain of the Bangladesh national team used to teach English to street kids at a school in the Philippines where he lived before he came to Bangladesh.

The praises from Dhaka Tribune marks the good start Jamal had in green and red. As one of the stars in the team, the possibility of Jamal moving on to a bigger platform is often asked. But he is not in a rush.
“I have had contract and trial offers from British, Indonesian and Indian clubs, but I’m not in a hurry. I’m having a good time here in Dhaka and Bangladesh and I’m planning to honour my contract,” Jamal says before it’s time for the afternoon training session at Sheikh Russel. 


 Jamal in a game against Malaysia.