Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today accorded a reception to Bangladesh girls' football team for clinching the title of the inaugural edition of the SAFF Under-15 Women's Championship, saying that they've brought huge honour for the country.
"Becoming unbeaten champions in the SAFF Under-15 tournament by defeating India twice was not an easy task for our girls' soccer team ... it's a huge achievement for Bangladesh," she said.
The sports-lover prime minister hosted the reception for the Bangladesh girls' football team at her official Ganabhaban residence here this afternoon, reports BSS.
Sheikh Hasina urged the boys and girls to give more attention to the sports and games side by side with pursuing study.
"As much as they get involved in games and sports, they will remain in good thinking and healthy ... their mind will be broadened and they will not step into the wrong path," she said.
Describing football as a popular game of Bangladesh, she said it should be given proper attention.
Recalling their family's involvement with football, the prime minister 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 in playing soccer, she said.
Later, the prime minister handed over some gifts to the players of Bangladesh girls' soccer 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 Birshreshtha Shaheed Sepoy Mostafa 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.