Fantasy Premier League or FPL as it is commonly called has become one of the most popular online fantasy prediction games in the world.
The game is simple - you have to pick a football squad and the available money is 100 pounds.
Each week, you are allowed to make one free transfer but you can make as many as you want if you are willing to take a four-point hit for each transfer.
In the game, you get points based on the results of the team's performances in the English Premier League and how each player in your team does there.
Over the years, it has become one of the most popular fantasy prediction games in Bangladesh and here we speak with the people that have helped make it popular and those that are doing well from Bangladesh.
Arifin Satej is one of the founding members of the Fantasy Football Players of Bangladesh - FFPB group on Facebook and that group has been a major reason for the rise in popularity of FPL in Bangladesh
Back in 2010 when Ehsan Haque Bhai published an article in a blog about fantasy football and shared it in Cadet college group, some cadets came to know that there were few more crazy people who played fantasy football. By that time Jahid Hassan Bhai and Quamrul Hassan won some prizes from ESPN Fantasy giving Bangladesh an international exposure. In the meantime, I won a mini version of the World Cup 2010 Fantasy gaming contest, arranged by Clemon. After the publication of the article of Ehsan Haque, who started his FPL career when it was officially started, these four people met in KFC for a brotherly chit chat. During that meeting, suddenly Jahid Hassan Bhai proposed to have a common platform to bring all the fantasy football managers together which can eventually help the small community. Jahid Bhai asked Quamrul to open a group. Finally On 31st July "Fantasy Football Players of Bangladesh - FFPB" was created.
Before the creation of this group, there were a number of people all around Bangladesh who played Fantasy Football individually but a few knew about Fantasy Premier League (FPL) at that time. Like I was first introduced with FPL back in 2008 by my cousin Sheehan. During those days Shifat, Nafis, Atikur Bhai, Ishtiaque Bhai, Fazle Rabbi Moon Bhai, Akash, Himel were very actively helping the small community. They are now in our advisory panel.
As the group was formed by middle-aged people, we were very sensitive about slang and always tried to maintain the decency using social media. Quality over quantity was always Ehsan Bhai's motto. We never compromised it. When the senior-most member of your family is a good person, the family will be a good family.
Initially, we were helping each other, but in the 2nd year, we decided to introduce FPL to the whole of Bangladesh. We thought if we can win, there are many brains in our country who can also win. We met again and decided to make it big. But Fantasy back then looked like an adult site to some people. There were no sponsors back then. We were so determined to make it big. We planned for 1lac taka prizes from our pocket. Gold coins, Jerseys along with cash prizes were arranged. Next year Fuad Bhai Extended his support and sponsored 1st prize Asus Laptop, a dream 1st prize. No wonder with our continuous effort and tremendous help from the community Fazle Rabbi won quarterly 1st prize and got the opportunity to visit Emirates Stadium to watch his favourite team's match. By then Ishtiaque Amin also became champion. Almost every year Bangladesh had someone who was giving top fights or staying in the top 100. We always received tremendous support from our journalist friends Roney, Pamir Bhai and many other countless names.
Back in 2014 world cup, FFPB introduced the first full-fledged Fantasy gaming module "Playfantasy365" partnered up with SGC. Again some of the founding members contributed individually to build the gaming module but couldn't give it a look of a running site, as we believed not to earn any money from this platform. We hated betting from the very first day and refused many offers from betting sites.
The architect of the group is actually our initial members, who set an example of selfless helping attitude. That legacy is still carried by our members. FFPB couldn't have reached that far if we weren't surrounded by educated and honest people. There'll be a time when we won't be there, but the baton will be handed over to the right people to run this extraordinary community. We may not be big enough compared to Bangladesh's population but we are proud to be an active community with all the enthusiastic and passionate members in Bangladesh.
Maruf Hossain is currently the number one-ranked player in Bangladesh and fourth in the world overall and he details his journey so far and gives some tips to other players
On my FPL journey so far...
I have been playing fantasy premier league for 4 years. Before the start of this season, I did some analysis and made a team which clicked from the first game week and here I am at 4th in FPL global rank after game week 17. It has been a fantastic journey so far. It gave me happiness beyond I could explain. I am representing my country in a global stage and it is a matter of proud for me. I hope that I can keep this journey going till the end of this season.
Reasons behind my success so far…
Even though I switched few players in between but the core of my team was intact for most of the season so far. Son and Kane duo is the foundation for my current position. Few gamble picks also performed well which eventually led me to this point.
Plans for future game weeks
I personally believe that strategies can influence your overall ranking. You have to have a flexible plan regarding your FPL team so that you can adapt to any uncertain situations especially in this season of Premier League. Premium players are important but budget picks are vital for success. I pick players based on their form and try to focus less on the price.
As Sir Alex Ferguson said "Attack wins you games but Defence wins you titles" it is a must for every FPL manager to have a balanced defence. Till now I was preferring defender with the higher attacking return but I'm now concentrating on defender who has higher Clean sheet potential.
Midfield is the part where I put most of my money so I have to make sure that I get a consistent return from my midfield. For me players from Mid-table teams are important. As we can already see that teams like Aston Villa and Southampton are doing really well in this season and they have budget-friendly midfielders. So, I can pick players with higher return potential and also have few extra funds to expense.
Forward is the section where I like to shuffle depending upon the fixtures. Kane is my permanent striker till now and I'm thinking about for rest of season depending upon his fitness and form.
Why do I believe that increasing FPL popularity in Bangladesh is a good thing for us?
I took around one hour to plan for my team for a particular game week. FPL is not just a game for me but also a way to increasing my analyzing ability as I have to make decisions based on past data. And I'm sure that it can beneficial for all those who play this game. It can also help us to stay away from bad habits as it will make you fall in love with football eventually. And there is also a chance to win prizes though I personally don't focus on that too much as I think focusing on rewards can force us to make rash decisions. It is a game of 38 game weeks and a lot of patience is required for this long run.
Ahmed Bin Parvez is a fantasy football expert and one of the gurus on the first interactive FPL show in Bangladesh Fantasy Guru
What started off as a friendly competition within my football crazy cousins circle, gradually got me seriously hooked into FPL since 2013. Since I used to watch all the Premier League matches anyway, FPL brought a different kind of fun in watching matches and testing my whims of anticipating the future.
Fast forward to 2020, the year of the pandemic. HardPixel TV Sports, through its digital platform, introduced a new content, 'Fantasy Guru'. This was a brainchild of the few FPL enthusiasts within the Hardpixel TV sports panellists, including Sabby Zaman, Kaushik Podder, Shams Rashid, Omar Bin Parvez and myself. Shahnoor Rabbani had never played FPL before, so we decided to introduce him to this whole new world of prediction expertise. The concept of 'Fantasy Guru' was simple: it was a place where all FPL enthusiasts would come with their teams for suggestions, and the panel of the day would dissect the teams and provide informative suggestions based on statistics and personal womb. The discussions sometimes turn into debates since there is nothing right or wrong about predicting who would click and who wouldn't, but this weekly show gradually kept on creating a community of well-knit FPL enthusiasts who would help each other out. The introduction of the HPTV Sports private classic and head to head leagues with some attractive prizes up for grabs has opened up a competitive edge to the show in its first season.
Right now, Shahnoor Rabbani, with his beginner's luck is leading the private league table for panellists, and is constantly bantered by the regular panellists, or FPL Gurus as they call themselves. All FPL enthusiasts are invited to hear FPL Guru, every Wednesday at 12 midnight, where teams are invited for reviews. Rest assured you will be given some good advice for your FPL team, and if you think you are that good, you are invited to join the panel as a Guru! Up for it?