Despite his father`s disapproval, Golam Rabbi continued playing football with support from his mother. His persistence paid off in grand style as the class-VI student of the Hazi Ibrahim Alam Chand High School in Narayanganj became the lone under-12 footballer selected to represent Bangladesh in Gazprom`s Football for Friendship event to be held in Russia from June 26 to July 3.
Rabbi`s father, Bashir Uddin Khan Raton, recently disposed of his son`s sports gear after failing to enrol the youngster at either the BKSP or under any clubs, hence instructing the 12-year-old to concentrate on his studies.
However, Rabbi continued playing football and, with permission from his mother, came to Dhaka to and took part in the trial alongside 200 budding footballers. Having showcased his talent, Rabbi earned a place in a three-player shortlist, before finally being selected to represent his motherland.
"Initially I could not believe that my son was selected because he was supposed to go Malaysia with the junior team but could not go," Rabbi`s father said. "I could not enrol him at any club due to financial constraints and also due to having no link with the clubs, but I believed that he would one day secure a place for himself. My dream has now come true."
Mehbuba Raton, Rabbi`s mother, is also happy to see her son being given the chance to represent Bangladesh.
"Although Rabbi`s father threw away his gear, I kept supporting his passion for football. We want to thank the Almighty as Rabbi has gotten the chance to play abroad."
Rabbi, a student of the Modanganj Football Academy since 2011, practises there for three hours every day.
"I kept playing every day after getting permission from my mother. Having borrowed boots and anklets from my friend Mobarak, I went to Dhaka on April 16 for the trial. Now both my father and mother are very happy. My elder brother -- Rafi -- also took part and I beat him in the semifinal of the trial and was selected. He is also happy," said Rabbi.