Gono University became champions of the Faraaz Gold Cup Inter-University football tournament by beating Southeast University 4-2 in tiebreakers at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday.
The exciting final rolled directly into the penalty shootout after the regulation 70 minutes ended in a goalless draw in front of a few hundred spectators, who cheerfully backed their sides from the galleries.
Man-of-the-match Bibek Mandal, a former BKSP student and player of Agrani Bank, converted the fifth spot kick to give his fellow students something to really cheer for as he delivered the title in the process. After being eliminated from the group stages in the first two editions of the tournament, Gono University were surely glad to get their hands on the coveted trophy.
Meanwhile, Southeast University had to be satisfied with the runners-up trophy for the second time in a row despite having fielded a strong squad, featuring about seven-eight students who also play different competitive leagues under the Bangladesh Football Federation.
Gono University, studded with former BKSP players, played comparatively better between the sides, however, their forwards failed to cash in on their opportunities in regulation time. On the other hand, Southeast University were unlucky to not have notched a victory as they were twice denied by the woodwork.
“It was bad luck that we lost the final in tiebreakers again. We had confidence to win the match in regulation time but we were denied by the crossbar twice. We had less preparation in penalty taking,” said Southeast University Games and Sports Club president and coach Golam Rabbani.
“Faraaz Gold Cup has tuned into a platform for university footballers to show their skills and the university authority is also providing different scholarships to athletes during the admission,” said Rabbani.
“Faraaz Gold Cup is helping those university footballers who don’t play any competitive football to grow up as they have no other platform to show themselves,” said Mandal.
Chief guest, state minister for youth and sports Zahid Ahsan Russel, congratulated both teams.
“Faraaz Gold Cup is not only a football tournament, it has turned into a platform of friendship as the students from different universities are getting opportunities to get introduced with each other through Faraaz Gold Cup. I want to thank both the winners and losers for participating in the tournament,” said Russel.
During the prize-giving ceremony -- attended by advocate Saifuzzaman Shekhor MP, Faraaz Foundation’s secretary general Binoy Das, sponsor United Enterprises & Company Ltd’s director Khandokar Zayed Ahsan, former footballers Sheikh Mohammad Aslam, Satyajit Das Rupu and Hasanuzzaman Khan Bablu -- a one-minute tribute to the memory of Faraaz Ayaaz Hossain was observed.