Toitong Govt Primary School of Pekua, Cox's Bazar clinched the title of the Bangabandhu Gold Cup primary school football tournament while Tepurgari BK Govt Primary School of Patgram, Lalmonirhat won the title of the Bangamata Begum Fazilattunnesa Mujib Gold Cup primary school football tournament yesterday.
Toitong beat Kamrangi Govt Primary School of Jaintapur, Sylhet in a sudden death tiebreaker in the final of the Bangabandhu Gold Cup, the event for the boys, while Tepurgari beat Borabari Govt Primary School of Rajshahi by a single goal in the final of the Bangamata Begum Fazilattunnesa Mujib Gold Cup, the event for the girls, at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina witnessed both the finals and distributed prizes among the teams, encouraging the youngsters to take the country's football forward.
In the boys' final, Toitong initially conceded the lead in the fourth minute against the school from Sylhet, whom they [Toitong] claimed fielded over-aged players. However, Toitong's skipper and the tournament's top-scorer Minaruddin Bullet hit back in the 33rd minute to ensure the match rolled into penalty shootout, where both sides missed one out of their first five attempts before the Cox's Bazar outfit sealed the victory in sudden death.
Bullet later said that they were the deserved winners of the title. “The opposition team fielded over-aged players, but luck was on our side which is why we came back despite conceding the lead,” Bullet said at the end of the match. “Football is popular in our area. One of our teachers trains us every day. We hope to play for the national team one day and change the fortune of the national team.”
The girls' final was a less dramatic affair as Mitu Akter's 10th minute strike sealed its fate. Ruma Akter of the winning team was adjudged the most valuable player as well as the top-scorer in the tournament.
“We have been encouraged to see the girls from Kalshindur [former champions]. We knew if we play well and win we could be famous as well. That inspiration drove us. We didn't concede a goal up to the final and that gave us a lot of confidence about winning,” said Ruma.
The four teams were awarded with trophies and cash awards – both individually and team wise – by the Prime Minister where ministers, the Bangladesh Football Federation high-ups and officials of the Primary and Mass Education Ministry were present.
“I don't think there is any other tournament in the world that involves so many participants. We should encourage the youngsters to come more into sports,” Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said. “Our girls are showing good results in different sports at international stage. They will show more success in future,”