Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina poses with players of the National Under-19 Women's Football Team for their recent successes in international tournaments. -Collected
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina underscored the need for hunting talents from the grassroots level alongside urban areas for the development of the country's sports and games."We want that the more players are selected from the grassroots level alongside the capital and towns … it'll yield good results in the field of sports," she said.
The Prime Minister said this while addressing a reception accorded to the players and staff of the National Under-19 Women's Football Team and National Under-16 Boys' Football Team for their recent successes in international tournaments while the boys' team became unbeaten champions in the UEFA-assist U-16 development football tournament held in Dhaka from October 16 to 20, 2019.
Bangladesh and Laos have been declared joint champions of the Bangamata U-19 Women's International Gold Cup held between April 22 and May 3 last. They became joint champions as the final was postponed due to cyclonic storm Fani.
The Prime Minister said her government is promoting local games and sports alongside the popular ones. Coming to power in 1996, her government faced obstacles to introducing football for girls, she said.
"After assuming office, we've given special focus on further expansion of sports and games in the country and we're creating a scope for games and sports. As a result, our boys and girls are being attentive to it," she said.Referring to the crisis of the playgrounds in the country, Sheikh Hasina said everybody wants to construct buildings if they get open space.
"Nobody wants to keep open field for practicing games and sports by the boys and girls and it's a problem for us," she said.She, however, said her government is solving the playground problem and is constructing mini stadium in each upazila.
"There will be no gallery in the stadium so that everybody can watch the match from outside," she said.The prime minister said she has instructed the sports ministry not to construct stadiums for a particular game. "There will be scope for practising all kinds of games and sports in the stadiums," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said her government is also encouraging local games. "We've introduced interschool soccer like Bangabandhu Gold Cup and Bangamata Gold Cup. Now we're focusing on inter-college and inter-universities football so that sports and games are attracted in every place," she said.The prime minister said her government wants to develop the country in all fields like education, culture and games and sports.
"The yearnings of the mind will have to be met alongside arranging food … through the games and sports mental strength is gotten and boys and girls learn discipline and we want to create such an opportunity," she said.
Referring to her family attachment with football, Sheikh Hasina said her father, grandfather and two brothers- Sheikh Kamal and Sheikh Jamal- used to play football."My grandchildren also play soccer," she said.
The prime minister congratulated the players, coaches and officials for the success of Bangladesh Women and Boys Teams in the two international soccer tournaments. She also hoped that Bangladeshi players will bring success in the South Asian Games beginning in Nepal from December 1. Later, the prime minister handed over gifts to the players and officials of the two teams.
PM's Private Investment and Industry Adviser Salman F Rahman, State Minister for Youth and Sports Zahid Ahsan Russel, Youth and Sports Secretary Akhtar Hossain and Bangladesh Football Federation President Kazi Salahuddin were present on the occasion.
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