In a bid to inspire the young girls, the Bangladesh Football Federation provided a grand reception to the Under-16 national team for their outstanding performance in the recently concluded AFC U-16 Women's Championship 2017 Qualifiers.
Every member of the U-16 squad, including 23 players, the head coach and the two assistant coaches received Tk15,000 each from the country's three corporate houses in the reception held at Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel in the capital on Monday afternoon.
Gemcon Group, Saif Global Sports Limited and Caldwell Development Limited jointly provided an amount of Tk3.9m to the 26 members of the team. Each corporate group splashed Tk50,000 to each member of the U-16 squad, including the head coach Golam Rabbani Choton and the two assistant coaches – Mahbubur Rahman Litu and Mahmuda Akter Ananya.
Another corporate house, SS Solution, which is owned by Kazi Sarazin, daughter of BFF president Kazi Salahuddin, also announced that they would provide Tk10,000 every month to each member of the squad for the next one year till the final round of the AFC U-16 Women's Championship, scheduled to be held in Bangkok, Thailand in September.
The Bangladesh girls, placed in the Group C Qualifiers which began in Dhaka on August 25 last month, made history by qualifying for the final round for the first time in history.
BFF boss Kazi Salahuddin hoped the girls will continue their fine run.
“It was really a proud moment when the girls made it to the final round with a superb display. This day belongs to you. Everyone is happy with your performance. Your responsibility has grown even more now. You have to play for the nation. You have to make the nation proud and make yourself proud as well,” said Salahuddin.
Chairman of the BFF women's wing committee Mahfuza Akter Kiron found it hard to hide her emotions and promised that they would provide all kinds of training and facilities to prepare the girls for the final round.
Mahfuza said if such financial support continues, the girls can very well finish among the top three teams in the final round and qualify for the 2018 Women's U-17 World Cup in Uruguay.
Kazi Inam Ahmed, director of Gemcon Group, handed over Tk50,000 to each girl while Tarafdar Ruhul Amin, chairman of Saif Global Sports, and Khairul Majid Mahmud, chairman of Caldwell, also did the same on behalf of their respective organisations.
The girls attended the event with their family members and expressed their desire to enjoy more receptions in future by continuing their amazing performance.
U-16 captain Krishna Rani Sarkar, who was also the top-scorer in the qualifiers, said they would leave no stone unturned in their preparation for the final round.
“We will work harder in training and take better preparation in future for next year's final round. We have been playing together for a long time now so our mutual understanding is good. We will only get better,” said the 15-year-old forward.
Star winger Sanjida Akter also promised to perform better in the upcoming tournaments while head coach Choton said, “Women's football will soon get into a professional structure if such financial support continues. The guardian of the girls came here and saw how their girls are living here. Now, more parents will feel safe and encourage their daughters to get involved in the game.”
Meanwhile, Walton will also arrange a reception programme for the girls on Tuesday afternoon at BFF House. Before the qualifiers began, they announced that they would provide Tk5,00,000 to the team if they qualify for the final round.