Dhaka, April 04: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today urged all concerned to encourage children to take part in sports and cultural activities alongside their academic pursuits for developing in them the leadership qualities.“We want our children’s participation in sports and cultural competitions alongside their studies for their sound health and mind,” she said while distributing trophies among Bangabandhu Gold Cup Primary School Football and Bangamata Fazilatunnesa Mujib Gold Cup Primary School Football tournaments, 2018, winners, BSS reports.
The premier said sports and cultural activities instill among children a sense of discipline which is crucial for developing the future leadership as she joined the ceremony at Bangabandhu National Stadium here.
Primary and Mass Education Ministry organises the Bangabandhu Gold Cup Primary School Football Tournament since 2010 and the Bangamata Begum Fazilatunnesa Mujib Gold Cup Primary School Football Tournament since 2011.
Sheikh Hasina said over a million female students from 65,700 primary schools and nearly equal number of male students across 65,900 primary schools took part in the government sponsored extravaganza, which she expected to flourish their hidden leadership.
She said Bangladesh created a history in the world by arranging such a mega event and stressed the need for continuing the tournaments in search of fresher talents.
The premier said the two tournaments was grooming up players at grassroots and expected them to take Bangladesh football to the world arena in future.
“Thirty six out of 50 players are coming out of the tournaments, who are now playing for under 14, 16 and 18 and national football teams,” she said.
The premier noted with happiness that in recent period the Under-18 Women Team became champion beating India at the AFC Cup in Bhutan and the Under-15 team became champion in the Jockey Cup in Hong Kong.
The premier said the government was constructing mini-stadiums at each of the upazilas to facilitate players’ practices in proper manner to nourish their talents.
Sheikh Hasina described her member of a football family with her grandfather Sheikh Lutfur Rahman, father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and two brothers Sheikh Jamal and Sheikh Kamal being footballers.
She said now her grandchildren — sons and daughters of her son Sajeeb Ahmed Wazed Joy and daughter Saima Wazed Hossain Putul and nephew Radwan Mujib Siddiq Bobby, son of her sister Sheikh Rehana — also were playing football.
“I have an extra fascination for football being a member of a football family,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said her government attached special importance to sports and cultural activities as such pursuits can help children build their mental and physical health.
The premier witnessed the final match of Bangamata Gold Cup Primary School Football Tournament, 2018 between Pachrukhi Govt. Primary School of Mymensingh and Tepurgari BK Govt. Primary School of Lalmonirhat Pachrukhi Govt. Primary School of Mymensingh clinched the title by beating Tepurgari BK Govt. Primary School, Lalmonirhat of Rangpur Division by one goal.
Earlier today Haripur Govt. Primary School faced Dakkhin Kanialkhata Govt. Primary School, Nilphamari of Rangpur in the final match of the Bangabandhu Primary School Gold Cup in which Haripur School emerged as the champion beating the rival by a solitary goal.
The Prime Minister adorned the players, coaches and team managers with medals and distributed cheques for prize money among the best players, highest goal scorers and players of the champion and runner up teams and players of the team that secured third position in the tournament.
State Minister for Primary and Mass Education Md Zakir Hossain spoke on the occasion while Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the ministry Mostafizur Rahman Fizar accompanied the premier at the event.
Primary and Mass Education Secretary Md Akram-Al-Hossain and Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) President Kazi Md Salahuddin were present on the dais, among others.