The success of Jamal Bhuyan in the national team has seen fans all over the country craving for more overseas born footballers. Jamie Day, the current manager of the national team has been appointed by BFF with a view to finding out gems like him.
19 year old Zidan Miah is one such player who we could see pull on the famous Red and Green jersey in the near future. Born in London, the Moulovibazar native prefers to play as a winger or an attacking midfielder and started his footballing journey in the David Beckham Academy.
His impressive performances landed him a scholarship with Michael Johnson's Performance Centre and he subsequently moved to the US where he played for Columbus Crew U-14 and FC Dallas. He is currently employed by English club Bromley FC.
He is adored in Bangladesh for his impressive performances at the youth level and his eligibility to play for the national team. The Business Standard spoke to Zidan about his journey into the world of football and the struggles, setbacks and high points that come with it.
TBS: How are you coping with the Covid-19 pandemic?
Zidan: Here in the UK, everything is in lockdown. However, things are starting to ease, and slowly the economy is getting back to normal. During the pandemic, I kept myself busy by working hard – I have maintained my fitness by going for runs. I have digital work-out sessions with my coaches, a dedicated fitness programme from Bromley FC and a strict diet.
TBS: What club did you support as a child and who is your favourite player?
Zidan: My favourite club is Man Utd, and my favourite player of all time is Cristiano Ronaldo – whatever club he goes to he is always exciting to watch (Man Utd, Real Madrid, Juventus).
TBS: How often do you visit Bangladesh?
Zidan: Sadly, because of my busy schedule, I haven't been able to visit Bangladesh recently. The travelling time between US, UK and Bangladesh makes it challenging, and now especially more with the pandemic.
TBS: How was it like in the David Beckham academy?
Zidan: Amazing! It was where I started my football career and started to fall in love with the game. I was seven Years old when I first joined DB Academy. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity for me.
TBS: Was it hard moving to the US?
Zidan: Yes, it was very hard. I was away from everything I knew. I was in a new country and I had to start all over – start in a new school with a new education system and regime, make new friends, adapt to a new environment and above all I was away from all my family and friends.
My mother and younger sister were there with me and my father would visit every few weeks, and my older sister would visit me during school holidays. It was tough.
My mother Shipa Miah and younger sister Zara Miah were there with me and my father Sufian Miah would visit every few weeks, and my older sister Sara Miah would visit me during school holidays. It was tough.
TBS: Did you ever have to face any discrimination or racism because of your roots?
Zidan: I think as human beings we need to educate ourselves, and appreciate that we are all unique and come from diverse backgrounds. I am a positive, open-minded young man. I try not to pay attention to any negative acts because I want to help, inspire and motivate people from all over the world.
TBS: Fans in Bangladesh want you to represent the national team, does this put any extra pressure on your shoulders?
Zidan: I am flattered that they want me to play for them. I don't see it as pressure, it would be an honour and privilege to be able to represent such an amazing country.
TBS: What's your biggest aspiration? Where do you want to see yourself in the next 10 years?
Zidan: My biggest aspiration is to play for a top football club in the premier league, like Hamza Chowdhury is playing for Leicester City. Ten years is a long time. I don't know what the future holds. I would say, I want to continue to be the best that I can be, and I hope I can make all of my fans, friends and family proud of me.
TBS: What advice would you give to parents who have children chasing a dream to become a sporting star?
Zidan: Whatever dreams or aspirations someone has, whether it is to become a global sports star, a movie star or even a fashion icon, the parents have to fully support their children, because if they don't, no one will.
Whatever they do, they should want to do it and not because they have to do it. They should not be pressured into anything they don't want to do. Ultimately, they should enjoy what they do.
TBS: What has been the biggest barrier in your journey so far?
Zidan: The injury last year to my meniscus set me back. The hardest part of it was going from being fully fit to all of a sudden not being able to walk. However, this presented me with the opportunity to develop mentally, physically and emotionally. It enabled me to come back stronger as a player and as an individual.
Also, I would like to mention the sacrifices my family have made for me to get me to where I am today.
TBS: The best moment of your journey so far?
Zidan: There have been so many amazing moments in my short career. Playing at the DB Academy, training at Arsenal FC, moving to America and training at the Michael Johnson Performance Academy, playing for FC Dallas, signing for Bromley FC and the opportunity to meet top professionals at such an young age.
At youth level I have played and trained in England, Denmark, Germany, Spain, America, Thailand and Hong Kong.
These are just some of the things I am proud of and I think the best is yet to come.
TBS: Is there anything you'd like to say?
Zidan: I am very fortunate to have an amazing support structure with so many world class coaches and mentors. I like to thank everyone for being a part of my journey and believing in me. I like to thank Bromley FC for giving me the opportunity to start my professional career in England. All my family in England, Bangladesh and USA especially my mother and father and my two sisters Sara and Zara whom saw the journey from day one with all the pains and heart ache also the triumphs, it has been an amazing journey and without them I would not be where I am today!
I like to wish my Sara the best of luck with her Law degree (Maters) and Zara all the best in making her childhood dream come true to become a professional athlete. I take this this opportunity to ask everyone to keep me in their prayers and follow my journey on the social media platform and my youtube channel.