2016 was a busy year on the international front for us. We continued to develop our ongoing projects in Bangladesh as well as create new and exciting schemes and ideas. Thousands upon thousands of Bengali residents benefited, as we aimed to positively impact the different areas through means of sport.
Bangladesh Football tour
An FA Chartered Standard club and officially recognised as semi-professional, the London Tigers’ own football team went on a tour of Bangladesh in February. A culture shock to some of the Tigers, they bravely explored the jungle nonetheless, embarking on an adventure of sporting philanthropy.
The tour began with a match against an u16 team in Sylhet (pictured below) that the London Tigers had created in 2010. The two prides clashed in front of a crowd of over 3000 locals on a testing pitch, seeing the touring side win 2-1 in a friendly yet toughly contested match. A spectacle such as this would have been sure to have a massive impact on not only the adoring fans, but the whole of Sylhet, as the local people can see the camaraderie between the two teams and begin to understand how something as simple as a football team can build community cohesion and inspire some people to better their lives.
The London Tigers played three other matches on their tour of Bangladesh, but while football might have been the theme for such a trip, it wasn’t their sole ambition. The point of the tour was to adsorb the culture, becoming enlightened by the nuances of everyday Bangladeshi life, as well as enriching the community and being as charitable as possible.
The Tigers would give out football boots and other useful equipment in their trips to towns and villages, as a way to give everyone a chance of chasing their sporting dream. They would try their hand at local professions such as fishing (pictured left) and rickshaw driving, to truly experience a lifestyle a mile apart from their own.
Sylhet U16 Football and Pioneer League Trials
As mentioned previously, the London Tigers setup a u16 football team in 2010 which bares the London Tigers name and brand. The team (pictured below) compete in the Dhaka Pioneer League, a league that was created in 1987 to help develop grass roots football in Bangladesh. It is the largest under 16 football league in the world.
The team holds regular trials as a way of giving young Bangladeshi footballers a chance of chasing their dreams of becoming professional football players. While the term ‘professional footballer’ might mean sports cars and big mansions to most British people, a Bangladeshi footballer who gets paid as little £10 a game will earn
enough to feed his family for a week and thus is vital to the development of the community. This is why the work that London Tigers is doing in Sylhet in regards to their ongoing football team is monumental in helping young Bangladeshi boys achieve their dreams and propelling them and their families towards a better future.
The 2016 trials for the Sylhet London Tigers was branded as the ‘Talent Hunt Football Programme’ and attracted over 4000 young footballers from greater Sylhet and the surrounding area. All the players were given a fair chance to display their ability in a match-like setting under the eyes of qualified coaches and scouts in their local area before the shortlisted trialist were called to AMA Muhith Sports Complex in Sylhet for final selection.
Dhaka Street Cricket Project
Cricket is of course the most popular sport in Bangladesh by far and therefore a great way to appeal to Bangladeshis when trying to achieve a certain goal.
London Tigers also have their own cricket team participating in a league based in Dhaka which began in 2014. The team is a great way for London Tigers to increase brand awareness throughout Bangladesh and it would be very beneficial if the team were given a chance to play exhibitions against highly ranked teams that go on to tour Bangladesh.
This was a progression route for the London Tigers cricket centres in Mymensingh & Sylhet that were created in 2011. The cricket centres have produced several national under 18’s cricketers.
The objective of the adult teams was to provide street children in Dhaka the chance to get involved in competitive cricket. As you can see in the picture, London Tigers were invited by Last Man Stands to their cricket tournament in Dhaka. There was a number of players on the London Tigers team who come from rough areas and have now been given a second chance at success thanks to opportunity given to them by the organisation.
Disability Group at Athletics Event
London Tigers formed a team of disabled athletes to compete at an official athletics event in Sylhet. Such work should be commended as it is often people with disabilities that get disregarded by local sports teams and never get a chance to fulfil their potential. This kind of philanthropy by London Tigers is testament to their motto; “a world where every individual has the opportunity to fulfil their dreams.”
As you can see, the event was heavily publicised and the London Tigers winners were commended by sponsors and the DSA. The London Tigers name and logo was clearly shown both at the event and on TV, helping cement the charity’s imprint of goodwill in the hearts and minds Bangladeshi people.
It is clear to see that London Tigers holds no bias to what kind of people they help and one would hope that with more funding they can continue their great work in helping people with disabilities or similar problems that hasn’t allowed them to have a fair chance.
Sylhet Bike Stunts Project
London Tigers understood that mainstream sports such as football and cricket might not appeal to everyone in Bangladesh, so they went about creating a programme that involved teaching youths how to do bike stunts. This took place in Sylhet and young boys were given BMX’s in order to get them off the streets and use their creativity and athleticism in a fun and productive way. Alternative events such as this may seem niche, but they appeal to a demographic who may not be interested in other sports and help create a more positive outlook in local communities.The aim of this project was to get children off the streets of Sylhet and get them engaged in a fun and physically stimulating activity.
Mens Volleyball Competition
As aforementioned, cricket and football may appeal to the majority of Bangladeshis, but not to everyone. So instead of leaving them out, London Tigers went about setting up a volleyball competition in Sylhet that allowed newly formed teams to compete in front of friends and locals. Similar to other events, this is a great way of increasing community cohesion and just generally improves the morale of the city.
It is worth noting that volleyball is an Olympic sport, so by trying to generate interest, this event gives Bangladeshi athletes a hope of competing in the biggest global sporting competition in the world. The event was targeted at anyone and was a good way of allowing rough athletic potential to develop through an alternative sport.
MPs Cricket Match
In May, the London Tigers arranged a cricket match to be played at Barclays Bank Sports Ground in Ealing between English and Bangladeshi MPs. This was a fun and exciting way to strengthen parliamentary relations between the two countries as well as a way of London Tigers becoming more recognised by both nations.