Dhaka – Hosts Bangladesh will play defending champions Palestine in the opening match of the six-nation Bangabandhu International Gold Cup Football Tournament on January 15 at 5:pm at the country’s premier sports venue—Bangabandhu National Stadium here.
The 6th edition of the eleven-day Bangabandhu Gold Cup Football, being jointly organised by Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) and K-SPORTS, scheduled for January 15-25.
The BFF first organised the Bangabandhu Gold Cup in 1996 to pay tributes to the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Bangladesh, which was placed in tough Group A with Palestine and Islanders Sri Lanka, will play Sri Lanka on January 19 in their other Group A match at the same time and same venue.
The Group B team comprises, three South African countries –Burundi, Mauritius and Seychelles—and Burundi will play Mauritius in the opening Group B match on January 16 at 5:pm at the same venue.
Two top teams from each of the group will play in the semifinals. The Group A champions will play Group B runners-up in the first semifinal on January 22 while Group B champions will face Group A runners-up in the other semis on January 23, both at 5:pm at the same venue.
The title deciding final match will be held on January 25, also at 5 pm at the same venue.
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.
Meanwhile, the logo unveiling and ceremonial draw of the prestigious Gold Cup Football was held last Saturday at the ball room of Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel in the capital where Finance Minister and former President of International Cricket Council (ICC) AHM Mustafa Kamal was the chief guest.
Banglabandhu Gold Cup Football will be the first event to celebrate the ‘Mujib Borsho’ from March 17, 2020 to March 26, 2021 across the country to mark the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
The countdown to the year-long celebration of Bangabandhu’s birth centenary is set to begin on January 10, the home coming of Bangabandhu from Pakistan in 1972.
The Bangabandhu Gold Cup will begin on January 15, just five days after start of centenary program. 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 during 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.UNB