The under-16 national women's football team have expressed their gratitude towards the Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) and the corporate houses after being accorded a reception at a city hotel where each of the 23 players received monetary rewards.
Krishna Rani Sarkar, the captain of the side which emerged champions of the AFC U-16 Women's Championship Qualifiers earlier this month to book a place among the final eight, said they are grateful for the reception and felt that this reward would motivate them to take their football forward.
“We are all from poor families, so this money will help. We feel good that girls have earned this much money from football for the first time,” Krishna expressed.
“We thank the BFF for according us and our parents this reception. We are happy to have done something for the country. The responsibility is bigger now as we have to do well to keep earning respect,” she added.
Krishna was accompanied by her father who often travels from Tangail to attend her matches.
Each player was accompanied by a mother or father, if not both, who in turn were immensely proud to see their daughter's achievements receive recognition.
“I want my daughter to grow more, both in football and studies. I hope she will play for 8-10 years more,” Basudeb Chandra Sarkar, father of Krishna, told reporters.
“I'm glad that the federation have taken responsibility over these girls' studies and everything else for the next one year. This is a very good initiative and so I hope for a good future of my daughter,” Basudeb further said.
The event was attended by ministers, sports officials, corporate owners and football officials among others. The girls were each handed a Tk 1.25 lakh award – provided by Gemcon Group, Caldwell Development Company Limited and Saif Global Sports Limited – while SS Solutions pledged to provide monthly allowances to the girls for the period of a year.
The head coach of the team, Golam Rabbani Chhoton, and two assistant coaches were also given monetary rewards during the programme.
Kazi Salahuddin, president of the BFF, extended his best wishes to the team and pledged every measure of support possible to the players so that they can compete against the best Asian teams in the final round.
“Now your responsibility has become bigger. Now everyone will want to see what you do, everyone will want to know what your results are,” said Salahuddin during his speech.
Bangladesh will play Australia, Japan, China, South Korea, North Korea, Thailand and Laos in the final round, which will be held in Thailand during September next year.