Monday, February 26, 2007

Nobel laureate backs Bangladesh women's football

Sudeep Pakrashi of Kolkata's Express India applauded neighbouring Bangladesh's transformation of women's football led by Quamran Nahar Dana and Lily Aziz. "The Bangladesh Women’s Football Association was formed in 2003. And ... Nobel laureate and Asia’s biggest sensation these days, Md Yunus, has vowed support to the four-year-old body on the financial front," he wrote. The BWFA kick-started separate Under-19 and U-17 teams with as much as half the players representing the Muslim community.

Accompanying the U-19 team visiting Kolkata for the Indo-Bangla Games, Dana told Pakreshi that, “initially, it was really tough for us to convince Muslim girls and get them involved in the game of football. Amidst that, we used to constantly face threats from a fundamentalist group, asking us to stop. The situation has changed a lot now. When we started, we saw good responses from six districts. Today, it’s gone up to 10. We have participated in two editions of Asian Football Confederation conducted international U-17 championships. What we need however is the support on the financial front for ground infrastructure and organisation.”

And in a bid to push their new projects, the BWFA consulted Yunus. “I already an informal discussion with Mr Yunus regarding the development of women’s football in Bangladesh. As he is always sympathetic towards efforts to development women’s football, Mr Yunus has promised to organise necessary financial support. We are optimistic that he will provide patronage for women’s soccer in Bangladesh. He was the man who brought Zinedine Zidane to this country. He is also organising a trip to France for the junior boys’ team, slated to be announced soon,” Dana explained.

The BWFA is looking to start a national soccer tournament in Bangladesh this year, featuring 10 U-19 district teams. For this effort, too, the association is looking forward to the Nobel laureate’s support.

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