Since being formed in 2006, Bangladesh Baseball-Softball Association has been facing many obstacles, chief among them being lack of sponsor and absence of a proper field.
Bangladesh recently made it to the semi-finals of the West Asia Baseball Cup for the first time, despite the absence of a proper playing field back home where there is no venue to host international matches as well.
It has also been difficult to persuade sponsors and arrange tournaments accordingly as the sport is an unpopular one in the country.
The foreign coaches including Hiroki Watanabe and Sean Moore don’t get any wages as they have been doing the job voluntarily for the national team.
Bangladesh Baseball-Softball Association, established in 2006, has been holding its national competitions at the Paltan ground where the space left is insufficient and the fund is often below average.
“We do not have minimum space for a baseball field. Paltan ground is very small, much less than what is actually required. It is also very disturbing and noisy. People enter the field during the matches. The balls also get lost in every tournament,” BBSA’s founding and current general secretary Aminul Islam Liton told Dhaka Tribune.
“There is no stadium to host international matches. We asked for the Sirajganj stadium for a baseball venue in 2013-14, but did not get it. We need a baseball stadium in or around Dhaka city,” he added.
The national team hold their practice sessions at the Rajarbagh Police Line field which is also small and the ball often lands on the nearby buildings and parade ground.
Most of the players in the current national team are from Police team that was formed in 2014.
Police team now have more than 200 baseball players in their eight ranges of the country.
“There has been no notable success due to which the government would give us a land for a baseball stadium. We only played our first international match in 2018. It would be good even if we had a field at Bangladesh Krira Shikkha Protishthan,” said the general secretary.
“Recently, we asked the National Sports Council for any of the Sheikh Russel mini stadiums. So far, the feedback is positive. Those venues are small but we are searching for bigger one among them near the capital.”
The field of Women’s Sports Complex in Dhanmondi has been used for women’s competition but the space there too doesn’t meet the requirement.
Lack of fund and equipment
The BBSA receive only Tk70,000 from the NSC every year but the amount is very low compared to what is needed to organize a tournament.
They are dependent on sponsors.
In most national competitions, usually participated by eight teams, Walton has been sponsoring them but the amount is nearly not enough.
“The sponsors usually get interested if the sport is popular. That is why we do not get any importance. We need activities and success to make it popular but we do not have the funds,” said Liton.
“We also do not have enough baseball equipment like gloves, bat, ball and helmet. These are not available in Bangladesh market so we have to import them and it’s costly.”
The general secretary also informed that since the latest West Asia Cup they have come to realize they need a bowling machine to improve the batters.
“The players struggled against fast balls during the West Asia Cup. None of our pitchers can bowl more than 80mph. That is why we need a bowling machine,” said Liton.
“The cost of everything from jersey, equipment to tournament medal has increased but our financial condition remained the same. We need support to move further.”
The BBSA has also been trying to include the sport in the South Asian Games but to no avail so far.
Source : Dhakatribune