Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday said the government wants to make the children of the country as worthy citizens keeping them away from terrorism, militancy, drugs and corruption by engaging them in sports and cultural activities.
“Our children and juveniles are very talented. And we want to create scopes to flourish these talents. We want to develop our children gradually as worthy citizens keeping them away from terrorism, militancy, drug and corruption. So, sports and cultural practices alongside study are indispensible,” she said.The Prime Minister said this while addressing the closing ceremony of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman National Gold Cup Football Tournament Boys Under-17 and Bangamata Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib National Gold Cup Football Tournament Girls Under-17 at Bangabandhu National Stadium.
She distributed prizes and medals among the champions and the runner-up teams as well as the best performers and the highest scorers in the two tournaments after the grand finals held on Saturday in the national stadium.
Besides, the Prime Minister conferred medals to the best goalkeepers of the tournaments and the best players of the grand finals.
Barishal Division became champions beating Chattogram Division 2-1 in the final of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman National Gold Cup Football Tournament Boys U-17, while Khulna Division secured the title of Bangamata Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib National Gold Cup Football Tournament Girls’ U-17 beating Dhaka Division 4-3 in a penalty shootout after drawing 2-2 in the final.
The Prime Minister said sports competition creates scopes for the children to flourish their merits properly, and have sound health and liberal mind. “And most important matter is that sports brings the glory for the country,” she said.
Noting that today Bangladesh has witnessed enough improvement in sports, she stressed the need for upholding this progress.The first round of the tournaments kicked off in Tangail district stadium on September 1, 2019.
State Minister for Youth and Sports Md Zahid Ahsan Russel, Chairman of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Youth and Sports Abdullah Al Islam Jakob, Brazilian ambassador to Bangladesh Joao Tabajara de Oliveira, President of Bangladesh Football Federation Kazi Salahuddin and Youth and Sports Secretary Md Akhter Hossain, were among others, present at the prize giving ceremony of the mega football events.
According to the Directorate of Sports, about 100,000 boys and some 12,000 girls participated in the competitions. The girls’ competition started from districts level while boys’ completion from Upazila level.
A total of 4,828 upazila-level teams, 581 district-level teams, 68 divisional-level team and eight national-level teams participated in the second edition of the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman U-17 tournament.
Besides, 581 district-level teams, 68 divisional-level teams and eight national-level teams participated in the first edition of the Bangamata Begum Fazilatunnesa Under-17 National Gold Cup Tournament.
Sheikh Hasina said the government will make every child of Bangladesh fit for all sorts of international competition in every sector.
She said the Mujib Year will be celebrated from March 17, 2020 marking the birth centenary of Father of Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the celebration will continue till March 2021 when the golden jubilee of independence will be observed.
“We achieved independence, got dignity as a nation, and gained a country under the leadership of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina, the eldest daughters of Bangabandhu, recalled Bangabandhu was a footballer during his student life. “My grandfather and my brothers used to play football. Now my grandchildren also play football,” she said.
Noting the involvement of her brothers Sheikh Kamal and Sheikh Jamal in sports, she said, “I can at least say that I’m a member of sports [loving] family.”
Noting that her government has been creating different scopes and facilities for development of sports and games, the Prime Minister said they are constructing mini-stadium at every upazila across the country to create scope for carrying out sports and games throughout the year.
She said the government is taking measures to arrange the inter-college and inter-university football competition.
Terming the football the ‘most popular game’, the Prime Minister congratulated all players and staff of the champions and runners-up teams for their successes in the two tournaments.