Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday put emphasis on practicing games and sports more, saying that it helps the youths refrain from wrong paths like terrorism and militancy.
The premier told this when members of the Bangladesh U-15 National Football Team called on her at her official residence Ganabhaban this evening.
“Practising of sports and games keeps health and mind sound and helps the youths keep away from stepping into wrong paths like terrorism and militancy,” PM told.
The prime minister invited them to Ganabhaban for clinching the SAFF U-15 Championship held recently in Nepal.
Highlighting her government’s steps for development of games and sports in the country, Sheikh Hasina said: “We want practice of sports to continue throughout the year and local sports do not get extinct.”
Sheikh Hasina said her government has taken steps to build a mini stadium in every upazila of the country. “Such stadiums have already been constructed in many upazilas,” she said, hoping that the stadiums will be built in other upazilas in future.
Mentioning her family’s attachment to football, the prime minister said her grandfather and father used to play football.
“All of my family members including my brothers, sister-in-laws were involved in sports and games … my grandchildren also play football,” she said.
“My eldest brother Sheikh Kamal was the founder of Abahoni Krira Chakra, which is the pioneer of modern football in Bangladesh,” she said.
The prime minister said football is Bangladesh’s most popular game as it is played everywhere of the country.
Terming the honour which the players earned through winning the SAFF Under-15 Football Championship as rare, Sheikh Hasina said they will have to lead the country in the international football arena in future.
She said the players of the Under-15 National Football team were groomed up as the government is encouraging the children in sports and games at grassroots level.
In this regard, she mentioned arrangements of various tournaments like Bangabandhu Gold Cup and Bangamata Gold Cup Football Tournaments at primary school level across the country.
The prime minister underscored the need for organizing of inter-school and inter-district-based football competitions to develop more new players in the country.
She also stressed imparting proper training to the age-level players so that they could develop themselves for future.
Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) President Kazi Salahuddin also spoke while State Minister for Youth and Sports Dr Biren Shikdar and Deputy Minister Arif Khan Joy were present on dais.
Earlier, the prime minister handed over cheques for Taka four lakh to each of the 23 players and Tk 2 lakh each of 11 officials of the Under-15 Bangladesh Football Team.
Kazi Salahuddin and skipper of Bangladesh U-15 Football Mehedi Hasan presented two footballs to the prime minister.