Bangladesh Football Federation in collaboration with UNICEF on Thursday launched a nationwide football talent scouting for girls aged 12 to16 years.
“We are extremely proud of this programme. We know that many girls, particularly those living in remote and hard-to-reach areas, have traditionally been cut off from sports,” BFF President Kazi Salahuddin said.
“We hope this initiative can inspire parents and communities to promote girls’ participation in sports. The benefits are enormous and go far beyond the playing field,” he added.
Tomoo Hozumi, UNICEF Representative in Bangladesh, believed that taking part in a sport and doing well in it can change people’s perception of a girl.
“Sport has an incredible way of bringing people together. It can completely transform people’s perceptions of girls’ potential and the role they can play in society,” said Tomoo.
“Sport has something to offer girls and boys equally. Aside from the physical and mental health benefits, playing sports builds self-esteem, confidence and a sense of self-determination,” Tomoo added.
The organisers believed that the scouting programme would address the current Covid-19 situation by motivating children to become actively involved in sports.
School closures and lockdown restrictions have severely limited children’s opportunities for exercising and having fun with their friends over the past year, taking a heavy toll on both their physical and mental health, they believed.
UNICEF Youth Advocate Raba Khan also cheers on girls to take up the challenge.
“Girls are powerful and strong already. They just need the right opportunity and a little encouragement from their families and communities.
“We must change hearts and minds in Bangladesh – there is no limit to a girl’s ability to play football and other sports. I can’t wait to see these bright young stars display their football skills soon,” said Raba.