Thousands of fans poured out into the streets, waved Argentine flags, and sang about Messi and Maradona, rejoicing at reaching the World Cup finals. It sounds like a completely expected picture for Buenos Aires – but all this happened thousands of kilometers away in Bangladesh.
At first glance, Bangladesh has nothing to do with Argentina. Then why such strong feelings for the distant South American national team? This is exactly what we will look into in today’s article.
International media began to massively highlight the story of Argentina’s support in Asia only during the 2022 World Cup. Probably, the reason was a video on FIFA’s official Twitter, in which the people of Bangladesh celebrate Messi’s goal against Mexico.
For many in the West, the topic turned out to be unexpected, but in Asia, they have been rooting for big South American teams for a long time. The origins of this go back to the colonial past of the countries.
The brightest Asian fans of Argentina gathered just in Bangladesh. The country gained independence not so long ago: Bangladesh – in 1971. Bangladesh in the past was part of British India – the most important colony of Great Britain. These relations began in the XVII century and, on the one hand, brought infrastructure and industrial production to the region, but on the other – famine and uprisings.
European Sports in Bangladesh
Bangladesh and India (we will discuss them together since they used to be a single colony) have their leagues, infrastructure, and football economy, but football is much inferior in popularity to cricket. Broadcasts of cricket matches are watched by almost 80% of Indian viewers, and football – about 5%. The national football teams of these countries are not very noticeable in the world: neither India nor Bangladesh has qualified for the World Championships. In the overall FIFA ranking, they occupy 106th and 192nd places, respectively. And so far nothing foreshadows that the situation will somehow change in the coming years. In this context, it is quite natural that residents of the region find favorites from other countries.
The love of Argentina was influenced by popular resentment against Britain and the 1986 World Cup
Why Do They Love Argentina?
Residents of India and Bangladesh say that the World Cup broadcasts in the region appeared only in the 1980s. For many, the first tournament they saw in color was the 1986 World Cup – and this explains a lot about their love for Argentina. The main factor here was, of course, Maradona – the key figure of that tournament.
“Maradona was the pinnacle for us, the people who watched their first World Cup in 1986. We had to become fans of Argentina only because of this man, a legend and the greatest player our generation has ever seen,” explains 46-year-old social worker Rasseduzzaman Roni from Bangladesh.
Thus, thanks to many historical events, Bangladesh supports the Argentine Football League. And it can already be said that the tradition has been passed down for several generations in every family in Bangladesh that loves sports. Did you know about it?