Charismatic Safwan Sobhan-a visionary sports organiser

Charismatic Safwan Sobhan-a visionary sports organiser

The “Philosopher’s Stone” is a mythical, divine substance mentioned by ancient and mediaeval alchemists, reputed to have the ability to transform metals into gold and silver. There is much debate over its existence, as countless alchemists have searched for it throughout the ages, though it has never been discovered.

However, the sports arena of Bangladesh has a personality who deserves to be called a living “Philosopher’s Stone” because he has the ability to turn decayed things into precious assets through his unwavering determination, resolute leadership, and vision. He is none other than Safwan Sobhan Tasvir.

Safwan Sobhan is the Vice-Chairman of the country’s largest business conglomerate, Bashundhara Group, the Chairman and Managing Director of the country’s only sports channel, T Sports, and the Chief Patron of the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) franchise Rangpur Riders. The asset he has turned into a treasure is Lt. Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club Ltd.
Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club Ltd, one of the country’s top-flight sports clubs, had been struggling to survive when Safwan Sobhan took charge in 2017. As the club’s president, he reorganised everything within a few days.

Safwan Sobhan formed a strong football team for the club, for which it is widely known in Bangladesh. Additionally, he paid equal attention to the cricket team and worked hard to build it up. Since then, the club have excelled in domestic cricket.
“Sheikh Jamal came from the country’s prime sports-patronising family. He was also a sports lover. Our club is named after him. Sheikh Jamal was the second son of the Father of the Nation,
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and Bangamata Sheikh Fojilatunnesa Mujib, and the brother of our Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina. I have been working to popularise the club on the international stage since my first day here. I am doing everything necessary for this,” said Safwan Sobhan.

“My and my family’s passion for sports is nothing new. I am planning everything for the development of the club, such as providing better training facilities, improving infrastructure, and increasing public engagement. I know very well that there is no alternative to sports for presenting a drug-free and clean society to our future generation and youth,” he added.

Since taking the helm of Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club Ltd, Safwan Sobhan has brought much success to the club. Another historic club, Abahani Ltd Dhaka, had been dominating domestic cricket for a long time, but under Safwan Sobhan’s leadership, Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club changed the entire scenario. The team emerged as champions in the maiden edition of the Dhaka Premier Division T20 Cricket League in the 2018-19 season. Imtiaz Hossain was named the player of the final as he scored the highest 53 runs for Sheikh Jamal.

Sheikh Jamal had another successful campaign in this competition during the 2022-23 season, though they finished as runners-up. Sheikh Jamal’s Indian recruit, Parvez Rasool took the highest 33 wickets in the competition, while Fazle Mahmud was named the best batter.
Sheikh Jamal DC became the champions of the Dhaka Premier Division Cricket League, a prestigious List A club tournament, for the first time in the 2021-22 season and finished as runners-up in the 2022-23 season.
Under Safwan Sobhan’s leadership, Sheikh Jamal DC have gained much fame in domestic cricket in a short time. As a result, star cricketers such as Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, and Imrul Kayes have had successful seasons with the club, and foreign players like Unmukt Chand (former Indian U-19 captain) have also played for the club and gained fame. Sheikh Jamal DC have also played a vital role in bringing young talents like Nurul Hasan Sohan, Towhid Hridoy, and Mrittunjoy Chowdhury into the spotlight.

Sohan led the team in the 2017-18, 2018-19, 2022-23, and 2023-24 seasons, while Imrul captained the team to the title in 2021-22. Sheikh Jamal DC also have a cricket academy named the ‘Sheikh Jamal Cricket Academy,’ where they groom age-level cricketers under the coaching of former national cricketer Shahriar Nafees.
Sheikh Jamal DC, a renowned name in domestic football, regained their fame when they secured the BFF U-18 Football League title in the 2021-22 season. The U-18 sides of the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) outfits participate in this premier domestic age-level event, which also plays a vital role in forming strong pipelines for the national team.

Under Safwan Sobhan’s leadership, Sheikh Jamal DC also finished as runners-up in the country’s top-tier professional football competition, the BPL, in the 2017-18 and 2020-21 seasons. Sheikh Jamal’s foreign recruits Solomon King Kanform and Raphael Odovin Onwrebe jointly became the top scorers of the BPL 2017-18, while another foreign recruit, Pa Omar Jobe, was the second top scorer in the 2020-21 season. Sheikh Jamal have also played a key role in football by regularly providing players for the men’s national football side.

Safwan Sobhan, the visionary sports organizer and successful businessman, not only focuses on the present but also has massive plans for the club’s future. He plans to build a home ground for the club with all modern facilities and technologies near the Bashundhara Sports Complex. Sheikh Jamal DC will be the second Bangladeshi club, after Bashundhara Kings, to have a dedicated ground. As per the plan, the ground will be built on 10 bighas of land worth Tk400 crore. Sheikh Jamal will host matches on their ground besides their regular training sessions.

Apart from cricket and football, Safwan Sobhan has also focused on other physical sports like basketball, tennis, and table tennis. There will also be a gymnasium, basketball court, table tennis court, and tennis court on the premises of Sheikh Jamal ground. Additionally, there will be a library, pool or billiard boards, and a canteen on the premises for the Sheikh Jamal players and fans.