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Repentant Tapu awaits atonement

Topu Barman is no longer suspended!

In September, while intending to play the AFC Cup for Basundhara Kings in the Maldives, Topu Barman got involved in a disciplinary incident and was suspended. The expiration date of that ban is December 31st.

Although there’s speculation, there might be a lift on the ban of their goalkeeper Anisur Rahman Zico by Kings. They have been asked to join training sessions soon. Even though Topu’s suspension lasts until December 31st, Anisur’s ban extends until March 2024.

Topu is eagerly waiting to return to the field, saying, ‘I cannot express how eager I am. The situation turned out to be very bad. The club has disciplined me, and I’ve accepted it. Now, I’m waiting to return to the field. Though I know it won’t be easy. I’ll have to fight my way back.’

Topu has played 53 matches in the Bangladesh national team jersey. Despite being a defender, he has scored 6 goals. He’s considered the backbone of the national team’s defense. During the AFC Cup, several players including Tawhidul Alam Sabuj, Rimon Hossain, Anisur Rahman, and Sheikh Morsalin were involved in the disciplinary incident that caused a stir among football enthusiasts. While Rimon and Morsalin had lesser involvement, they’ve been released by Kings. However, Topu, Anisur, and Tawhidul received separate suspensions. While there’s a strong possibility of Topu and Anisur’s return, Tawhidul’s ban continues.

Topu acknowledges how tough the days of suspension were for him, saying, ‘It was a very tough time. I missed the national team a lot. I missed club matches too. I played some excellent matches during the AFC Cup for the club. Missing two matches of the World Cup Qualifiers against the Maldives was a lifelong regret. Then, two matches against Lebanon and Australia. I watched the games on TV, but it was emotionally tough. It’s my fault, but it’s a significant lesson for me.’

Topu knows the fight back is his own. However, national team and club coaches have inspired him to undergo the process of return, ‘I knew after being suspended, the fight to return is all mine. The national team coach Jamie Day and Kings coach Oscar Bruzon told me that. I’ve been in touch with both coaches. The courage they’ve given me is unparalleled. I’ve been training myself, trying to keep fit. I’ve been out of the field due to injury for a year.’

The battle to return to the national team is undoubtedly tough for Topu, ‘My absence has worked well for the team. Those who played in my place did well. So, I know it will be tough for me to return. I’ll have to prove myself. I’m mentally prepared for that. Now, I have to convince myself through my performance.’

Topu awaits that performance, eagerly anticipating his return to the nation’s football scene.

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