Dhaka – Hosts Bangladesh have been placed in tough Group A of the six-team Bangabandhu International Gold Cup Football Tournament along with event’s top seed and defending champions Palestine and Sri Lanka.
Three African nations — Burundi, Mauritius and Seychelles – are in Group B of the country’s prestigious 11-day international soccer meet beginning on January 15 at the premier sports venue–Bangabandhu National Stadium — here
In the latest FIFA rankings — Palestine are in 106th slot while Burundi in 151st, Mauritius in 172nd, hosts Bangladesh in 187th, Seychelles in 200th and Sri Lanka in 205th position.
The logo unveiling and ceremonial draw of the meet was held on Saturday afternoon at the ball room of Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel in the capital.
Finance Minister and former President of International Cricket Council (ICC) AHM Mustafa Kamal was the chief guest at the event.
State Minister for Youth and Sports Zahid Ahsan Russel, Chief Coordinator of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Birth Centenary Celebration National Implementation Committee Dr Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury, BFF President Kazi Md Salahuddin, BFF Senior Vice-president Abdus Salam Murshedy, MP, and CEO of K-SPORTS Fahad MA Karim spoke on the occasion,
Besides, immediate past Mayor of Dhaka North City Corporation M Atiqul Islam, Awami League Youth and Sports Secretary Harun-ur-Rashid, Office Secretary Biplob Barua, cultural activist Nasir Uddin Yusuf Bachchu and BFF General Secretary Md Abu Nayeem Shohag were present on the occasion.
The 6th edition of the tournament, being jointly organised by Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) and K-SPORTS, is scheduled to be held on January 15-25 at Bangabandhu National Stadium here.
Addressing the function, the finance minister said they are going to organise different sports and cultural events to mark the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation. “Through theses, we want to spread the true history of our Father of the Nation and the Liberation War to our youths and new generation.”
BFF first organised the Bangabandhu Gold Cup in 1996 to pay tributes to the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
The ceremonial draw also featured a video clip on Bangladesh football since the independence and acrobatic dance by Russian and Croatian girls presenting the tournament logo, flags on BFF, Bangladesh and participating teams in an entertaining way.
The government will celebrate the ‘Mujib Borsho’ from March 17, 2020 to March 17, 2021 across the country to mark the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
The countdown to the year-long celebrations of Bangabandhu’s birth centenary is set to begin on January 10, the day which marks the anniversary of Bangabandhu’s homecoming in 1972.
The Bangabandhu Gold Cup will begin on January 15, just five days later. Another football competition — Bangabandhu National Football Championship — will begin on January 17 after a gap of 13 years with the participation of 78 teams across the country.
BFF has also planned to bring one or two former world football stars for the upcoming Bangabandhu Gold Cup to create mass hype.
They have already shortlisted some of those world cup stars, including Brazilian versatile star Ronaldinho, Italian defender Paolo Maldini, Netherlands forward Ruud Gullit and forward Marco Van Basten and Ivory Coast forward Didier Drogba.
In the last edition of the meet in 2018, Palestine emerged champions beating Tajikistan by 4-3 goals in the tie-breaker of the final as their match ended in a goalless draw in extra-time.
The hosts finished runners-up in 2015 conceding 3-2 goals defeat against Malaysia in the final.