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Bangladesh v India 2022/23

‘You can’t be watching football till three’ – the curious downside of Bangladesh’s Argentina fandom

Argentina football fans in Bangladesh
Abhishek Mukherjee by Abhishek Mukherjee
@ovshake42 3 minute read

As both Argentina and Bangladesh brace themselves for their respective clashes, the mutual affection between their fans continues to scale near-unprecedented levels.

Over the years, Bangladeshi football fans have been steadfast in their support for the Argentina football side. The fandom has transcended generations, as they spent nights staying up, cheering for Diego Maradona, then Claudio Caniggia and Gabriel Batistuta, and now Lionel Messi.

Social media ensured their love did not remain unrequited for long. The Argentinian media found out about the Bangladeshi fans, and the fans joined in. However, they chose to cheer for the Bangladesh cricket team: cricket, after all, is the most popular sport in Bangladesh.


We have already discussed the Argentinian reciprocation to Bangladeshi fandom in these pages. The Facebook group ‘Fans argentinos de la selección de cricket de Bangladesh‘ (Argentinian fans of the Bangladesh cricket team) has now expanded to over 180,000 fans, coinciding with Bangladesh’s ODI series win against India.

However, this comes with an obvious drawback. Argentina are set to play their 2022 FIFA World Cup semi-final against Croatia on the night of December 13. The kick-off will be at one in the morning in Bangladesh – in other words, even if the match does not go in to extra time, the final whistle will go off at 3am.

This would not have affected the usual fans, who are used to this quadrennial routine. However, the Bangladesh cricketers are also fans… what if they chose to stay up to cheer for their favourite side? That would pose a problem, for they will play a Test match against India the next morning from half past nine.

“We have to go to bed, simple as that. You can’t be watching football till three in the morning, and play the Test that starts at 9.30 am. It is stupid. I’d be very disappointed if they did,” insisted Bangladesh coach Russell Domingo.

While one can understand Domingo’s sentiments, the mutual admiration between the two fanbases seems to increase with every passing day. On December 12, Pablo Molinari uploaded a cricket coaching manual on his popular YouTube channel. The video is in Spanish, and has Bengali subtitles – almost certainly a first in history.

Cricket in Argentina dates back to the early 19th century. The progress was halted once football became popular in the country, but that was less than a century ago. What if Bangladesh’s admiration somehow helps revive the interest towards cricket in the country, and in turn, cricket’s less explored territories?

Clem Gibson, the legendary Argentinian cricketer, was named a Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1918. In 1921, he took 6-64 to dish out Warwick Armstrong’s Australians their first defeat on their tour of England. Gibson never played Test cricket because Argentina did not. A strong Argentina cricket team would have made Gibson happy.

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