PM honours U-15 girls for SAFF triumph
Dhaka, December 4: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina accorded a reception to Bangladesh girls’ football team on Thursday for clinching the title of the maiden edition of SAFF Under-15 Women’s Championship.
“Becoming unbeaten champions in the SAFF Under-15 tournament by defeating India back to back was not an easy task for our girls. It is undoubtedly a huge achievement,” the premier said in the event.
The sports-enthusiast Prime Minister hosted the reception for the Bangladesh girls’ football team at her official Ganabhaban residence Thursday afternoon.
The PM urged the boys and girls to pay more attention and devotation to sports alongside pursuing academic goals.
“The more our children and youth get interested and engaged in sports, the more they will remain occupied in positive thinking as well as in good health. They are then unlikely to stray towards wrong path, rather their minds and thinking will be broaden as well,” the PM said while addressing the girls and BFF staff.
Describing football as a popular game of Bangladesh, the PM said that the game and its development should be given proper attention.
Recalling their family’s involvement with especially football, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said, “Bangabandhu and my grandfather used to play football. Besides, my elder brother Sheikh Kamal was associated with Abahani Club, a leading sports club of the country,” she said.
Pointing out her government’s strides for the development of sports and games, Sheikh Hasina said her government wants to promote sports and games, and culture alongside education.
In this connection, she mentioned introduction of Bangabandhu and Bangamata Gold Cups for the primary school students. These tournaments have been encouraging the primary school students to play football, said the PM.
In the course of the event, PM Sheikh Hasina handed over gifts to the players of the winning team and its officials.
South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) and Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) President Kazi Salahuddin delivered the welcome address.
Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader, PM’s Private Sector Development Affairs Advisor Salman F Rahman, Deputy Minister for Youth and Sports Arif Khan Joy, Awami League Youth and Sports Secretary Harunur Rashid and other senior officials of the BFF were present on the occasion.
Bangladesh became unbeaten champions in the SAFF Under-15 Women’s Championship as they defeated India by 1-0 in the final at Bir Sreshtha Shahid Sipahi Mohammad Mostofa Kamal Stadium on December 24.
The hosts remained unbeaten, conceding no goals during the tournament. After crushing Nepal 6-0 in their first match, the girls beat Bhutan 3-0 and India 3-0 in the run up to the final.
Kazi Salahuddin, the president of Bangladesh Football Federation requested the Prime Minister to support football’s development process. “I requested the honourable Prime Minister to assist the football, I assured her to bring more laurels for the country through women’s and men’s football in the future.”
Bangladesh women’s coach Golam Rabbani Choton thanked the Prime Minister for her noble gesture. “It was a great moment for me as well as the team, the girls felt the same thrill when they secured the title of the SAFF U-15 Championship, it was an acknowledgement that will motivate the players for further success, we feel honoured and we thank the Prime Minister from the bottom of our heart” said Choton.
Maria Manda, the skipper of the team fell short of words to express her feelings. “What we can say, we are happy to get close to the Prime Minister, we are thankful for her and we feel motivated to continue the success spree” said the hardworking midfielder.