There are 23 footballers in 5 teams of SAF Championship. Mostly professional footballers. Some are businessmen, some are employed.
It is easy to separate one of them from the crowd – Ashhad Ali. Ashhad has been playing for the Maldives national team since 2006. He has scored 3 goals in 56 matches in 14 years. The footballer of the Maldives Eagles Club was once the captain of the Maldives national team. No, this information does not differentiate him. Ashhad is now better known to the people of Maldives as a state minister!
Recently, one of the desired positions of politicians has been added next to his name – State Minister! He was sworn in as the State Minister for Youth and Sports in December 2016. There is also empowerment of different communities under this ministry. It was no surprise that Ashhad lost his beard in his football career after becoming the state minister. But the 35-year-old midfielder is playing in the national team jersey with the badge of ministry.
Running Safe played the first two matches in the Maldives jersey. A state minister swore, but many did not notice! In the second match against Bangladesh, Ashhad, who wore the number 12 jersey, left in the first half due to injury. He was not fully injured in the 1-0 win over Sri Lanka in the third match today.
The Maldivian footballers are meeting in the elevator-lobby with the Bangladesh team players or coaching staff due to Mal staying in the same hotel. However, many in the Bangladesh team did not know that Ashhad was a state minister. Bangladesh goalkeeper coach Nuruzzaman told Prothom Alo on Sunday, “Our coach came here and said that there is a minister in the Maldives team. But I did not understand who he was. ‘
Ashhad met Nuruzzaman in the elevator the day after the Bangladesh-Maldives match on October 8. After the exchange of courtesies, Nuruzzaman was joking about the episode of getting to know Ashhad’s identity. Then he said, “Good.” He also said, “You know, I am but a minister.” I thought, maybe he is working in the ministry. In fact, it is not, he is a minister! ‘
Nuruzzaman continued, “He showed the picture on his mobile phone and said,” Your Russell brother is my friend. ” That means our state minister for youth and sports Zahid Ahsan Russell. Often talking on the phone. He talked about talking to our minister separately.
Ashhad reminds me of former Bangladesh footballer Arif Khan. After leaving the game, Arif Khan became the state minister of the Bangladesh government. The former national team captain was the Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports in the last term of the present government. But it is an exceptional case to become a minister while playing or to wander in international football wearing the identity of a minister.
Fifteen years ago, there was a footballer named Mantri in Bangladesh. The footballer used to enjoy the greatness of the word ‘minister’ at least because of his name. But the incident of Ashhad is very real, which this Maldivian footballer is quite enjoying. In the midst of shaking hands with someone, Ashhad did not forget to give his new identity – ‘I am a minister!’
Managing a country’s ministry with players is not an easy task. No matter how small the country. It is a great thing to have the responsibility of a ministry. Ashhad is a member of the Maldives Democratic Party, a key partner in the coalition government. Ashad, who was sworn in as the state minister of the Maldives government, said he would work for the development of all other sports in the country, including football.
Since he is busy with the national team and club games, he rarely goes to the ministry or sits. For four months, the chief minister of the Maldives’ Ministry of Youth and Sports has been unwittingly removed from office. As a result, Ashhad is now handling the whole ministry.