Dhaka, Jul 3 (EFE).– Soccer fans were left disappointed on Monday as they failed to interact with Argentina’s World Cup winning goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez during his short visit to Bangladesh en route to the Indian city of Kolkata.
The 30-year-old goalkeeper arrived in Dhaka from Amsterdam early in the morning for an 11-hour trip and met Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, among others.
The organizers of the visit told reporters that they did not keep any public engagement for Martinez due to his busy schedule, although a select few, including a minister and an international athlete, were able to meet him separately.
Junior minister for information and communication, Zunaid Ahmed, and the country’s cricket icon Mashrafe Mortaza – also a ruling party lawmaker – were among the 200 lucky fans to meet Martinez at the office NEXT Ventures, a digital business group hosting the Argentinian star.
“We are really excited. We feel Emi Martinez’ Bangladesh visit is a proud moment for us,” Ahmed told reporters after his meeting with Martinez.
Mortaza, who led Bangladesh in the 2015 and 2019 Cricket World Cups, shared his excitement on social media.
“It’s been a very short meeting, but it’s a great feeling,” Mortaza posted on Facebook. “The goalkeeper of the World Cup winning team is in front of our eyes! He doesn’t know how many years of waiting for me and millions of others like me ended the day Argentina won the World Cup!”
Bangladesh is among the few Asian countries known for its passion for soccer, despite never having achieved significant success at the international level.
Images of Bangladeshi fans celebrating Argentina’s victory at the Qatar 2022 World Cup went viral around the world, although their support for the South American team dates back to the 1986 World Cup, when Diego Maradona scored a brace to defeat England – Bangladesh’s former colonizers – in the quarterfinals.
In turn, Argentina reopened its embassy in Bangladesh in February, more than 40 years after it was shut down by the military dictatorship of Jorge Videla.
During a visit to the country during the occasion, Argentininian Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero pledged his country’s help for the development of soccer in Bangladesh, as a sign of gratitude for the passionate support shown by Bangladeshi fans during the Qatar World Cup. EFE